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How high can ladders safely reach? Safety experts recommend placing a ladder one foot away from a building for every four feet of height. This ratio keeps everyone from homeowners to fire-fighters safe, but it also limits how high they can reach.

Students use the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the maximum height ladders can safely reach and discuss the implications for fire safety and building construction.

- Ladders positioned on the ground should maintain a safe height:distance ratio of 4:1 to be maximally stable.
- Elements of urban design (like the width of streets and the height of buildings) may make a place more or less vulnerable to fire tragedies.

- Use Pythagorean Theorem to solve real-world problems
- Model real-world scenarios geometrically