You’re going to need to be able to lift yourself out of a balcony without falling, even if you have a little extra support.
But the basics are the same, right?
The only difference is the height of your feet, which is about where you need to start to get your footing.
And it’s all about safety.
“It’s always best to have a safety railing or railing with a height that is safe for people to stand on and walk on,” says Matt Gagnon, a lifeguard at the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
“For people to fall, there’s a risk of falling.”
If you can’t get up to the height you need, you’re probably not going to have much luck.
But for those of us who can, the basics of balcony safety are: You have to make sure you’re not leaning or pushing yourself into the railing or into a corner.
“Don’t push yourself into a wall,” says Gagnons wife, Heather.
“That’s a bad idea.”
You need to make room for your partner to sit or lean on the railing.
You don’t want to crush your partner’s shoulder or elbow.
If you’re going over a balcony railing, make sure your partner is sitting in the middle of it and not in the center of it.
It’s best to leave room for both people to sit on the balcony if you’re able to.
It also helps if the railing is not too high or if you can see the bottom of it, which means you can get a good grip on your partner and keep them safe.
You’re not going in with a full belly.
“You can’t go in the opposite direction,” says Heather.
You have one or two feet on each side of the railing, and you need that to get into a place to stand and lean against.
The top of the balcony has a “safety gap” or safety ridge, which allows you to step out of the way of other people or objects.
If the safety gap is too high, your partner will probably hit the railing in the face.
The bottom of the gap should be at least three feet high.
“The bottom of a gap can be quite wide,” says Liza Dominguez, a licensed lifeguard in North Carolina.
You need enough space to put your feet on the top of your balcony, and if you need extra room for someone else, use that.
If someone comes in too close, you can grab them with a strap that comes up your neck.
Domingues says that this can be a very effective technique.
“People tend to be more cautious on balconies, especially if they are using the stairs to get up or if they’re using stairs to go down,” she says.
“If you’re at the top and they’re on the floor, it’s a little bit more difficult to grab them, but it’s also a little more difficult for them to fall.”