Raising and lowering an extension ladder--one where part of the ladder is raised with a rope pulley--depends on maintaining control over the rope while raising and lowering the ladder. Keeping control of the rope allows the ladder extension to lock in place properly when you raise the extension and also allows you to lower the extension in a safe and controlled manner. This prevents accidents resulting from a falling extension or a ladder that collapses on impact with the ground.
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Pull down on the rope to raise the "extension" part of the extension ladder. Maintain control of the rope at all times.
Continue pulling on the rope until the ladder is past the point you wish to access, then ease the rope upward until the ladder locks into position.
To lower the ladder, slowly pull the rope down at least 1 1/2 feet to release the locks on the extension. Lower the extension slowly by allowing the rope to slip upward through your hands while you maintain control over the rope at all times.