Thursday, December 02, 2021

With October being Fire Prevention Month, now is a good time to take stock of the measures you have in place in your home to protect your family in the event of a fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds. Every 43 minutes a home fire injury occurs in the United States. Less than three minutes is the amount of time occupants have to escape a fire. And that’s where Safer Escape comes in.

It all started when an electrical fire started in a Passaic home on the last day of Pesach in 2020. The Mezei family watched in horror as flames rapidly engulfed their neighbors’ house while children leaped out of a window to a lower roof on the second floor, then jumped another 10 feet to the ground. Other occupants of the home also escaped, unharmed, with the help of a fire escape.

The fire escape literally made the difference between life and death for those people and, thank God, everyone made it out safe.

Right after that harrowing incident, Audrey Mezei decided that in order to safeguard her family, she needed to put into place the highest fire safety standards available, and that meant an additional means of escape. Audrey’s husband, Bezalel, began researching all the options available for installing a fire escape on a residential home. But that solution proved not to be so simple.

There are several challenges when it comes to installing a fire escape on a typical, single-family residence. For one, the cost can be prohibitively expensive, with estimates coming in around $11,000, not including the repainting and recertification required every five years. Then there’s the issue of how unsightly they look hanging off a house.

After countless hours exploring options, companies and products, Bezalel and his son Aharon finally stumbled upon a fire safety ladder from a company in Denmark. In fact, these ladders have been in use in Denmark for the last 30 to 40 years. Bezalel quickly reached out to the company to see if they would ship them to the U.S., and then ordered a few for his home.

The company asked Bezalel if he would be interested in distributing them in the U.S. Impressed by the company and confident in the product, he agreed, and before long Bezalel and Aharon started their company, Safer Escape, and began importing and selling the product immediately.

When the Mezeis first installed the Safer Escape ladder on a local residence, they invited neighbors to a demonstration. One of those neighbors was a local firefighter who was sufficiently impressed—and even thought the product was better than an actual fire escape for a residential home. “We feel very strongly that a home has to have a second means of egress. In a fire every second counts,” Bezalel said.

Warrantied for 15 years, Safer Escape is made of anodized aluminum and stainless steel hardware, and can be ordered in a variety of colors that do not compromise a home’s aesthetic. The ladder is not only weatherproof, but it also does not rust nor erode. The only maintenance required is opening it and closing it twice a year to check the operation. It is screwed into the side of the house, right outside the window.

“You don’t have to throw it out your window. You don’t have to pick it up. You don’t have to store it anywhere. It retracts. When it’s in its closed position it looks exactly like a downspout. You can’t even see it on the house. and all you do is open the window, pull out a pin that opens up the ladder and climb right down,” Aharon explained.

Priced according to size, the cost can range from around $1,800 to $3,000 on a typical two-story house, depending on the height. A third story may cost an additional $1,500.

To learn more about the Safer Escape ladder visit www.saferescape.com.

By Ronit Mershon

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