While travelling on the Åland islands, I noticed that a lot of houses have ladders reaching from under the windows to a meter or 2 from the ground. I had seen similar ladders on the sides of houses in the rest of Sweden, but they stretched until the roof to make it easier to de-snow during the winter ; the ones on Åland are shorter. The only explanation that I can think of is that the ladders would make it easier to evacuate in case of a fire, but then why are they only on the houses of Åland?

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  • 5
    They do indeed look like fire escapes, given their placement relative to balconies and windows. I have no idea why they would be only in Åland, however, so I cannot answer the question.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


The premise of your question is mistaken. Åland islands are a part of Finland, not Sweden so therefore the Finnish fire regulations are in effect. According to the Finnish fire regulations (link in Finnish) if the window is more than 3.5 meters from the ground the ladders are needed. You can see these ladders all over Finland.

  • Recalling my many visits to Helsinki and my extended stay there, I don’t recall any ladders at residential buildings in Itä-Pasila or indeed elsewhere so I wonder if that only applies to single-family homes?
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 13:16
  • 1
    @Jan This regulation is only for "small houses". It seems that apartment buildings in Finland don't require a separate fire escape, as the stairs in the building are considered the safest way to exit the building. Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 9:05

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