April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

In April 2020, the Schwartz (name changed) family of Passaic, New Jersey, watched their two-family house burn to the ground. An electric fire started near their front door at 8:30 a.m. and engulfed the house within minutes. According to Mrs. Schwartz, “the fire was on the first floor by the only staircase, and we could not get down from our second-floor bedrooms. My husband and I got out through our fire escape, while some of our older children had to jump from the window to a lower roof and then jump 10 feet to the ground. Had we not had a fire escape, oh my God, we would have had to jump out of the second floor to safety. I don’t know how we would’ve gotten that done with all of the kids.”

Efraim Unger and his wife, holding two small children, climbed down that same fire escape from their third-floor apartment. “The fire destroyed the house, but, baruch Hashem, everyone was saved,” says Unger. “I can’t recommend highly enough for every family to have a plan in case of, chas v’shalom, a fire. This includes how to get out of the house (ladders, fire escape) and where everyone should meet. Make sure you practice!”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, a U.S. fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds. One civilian fire-related injury occurs every 32 minutes and a fire-related death occurs every 142 minutes. Seventy-five percent of all deaths and 73% of all injuries are caused by home fires.

It is important to note that more (50%-80%) victims die from smoke inhalation than fire, as the fire consumes much of the available oxygen individuals need to breathe and remain conscious. More on this will be discussed in future articles.

The average home burns down in 3-4 minutes, and a room fills with poisonous smoky air within 1-2 minutes.

The key to saving lives is getting out quickly from the closest means of egress.

The Mezei family lives around the corner from the Schwartzes and Ungers and, like most others on the block, own a three-story single-family residence. They took the near tragedy to heart. Says Betzalel Mezei, “we have children and grandchildren who visit regularly and sleep on the second and third floors, and we need to protect ourselves. My wife wanted a fire escape, but the cheapest solution I priced was close to $11,000 and only covered one side of the home. Moreover, it needs to be repainted and certified every five years.”

They went searching for other solutions. The most inexpensive solution was the ubiquitous throw-out fire ladders, but the instability and one-time use made them unsuitable for any test runs, and were very difficult to use, especially for children.

Mezei continued the search for a quality, yet reasonably priced solution, and stumbled upon the Modum retractable fire escape ladder.

The ladder is permanently affixed to the home just outside the window and opens in seconds for instant escape. When retracted, it looks like a downspout and blends into the side of home. The ladder can be ordered in different colors.

A release pin mounted at the top of the ladder holds it closed and prevents unauthorized opening from the ground. Additional release pins can be incorporated into the ladder so that it can be opened from multiple floors.

It is anodized aluminum, fully weatherproof, and can be installed in 1-2 hours by any qualified handyman or contractor.

The ladder has been manufactured in Denmark for 35 years and has thousands of installations in Europe and Japan. It has been rigorously tested and certified by multiple European agencies. It was tested here in the U.S. by Underwriters Laboratories a number of years back.

The Mezeis ordered a few ladders for their home (along with a number of safety harnesses to prevent falls), each at a fraction of the cost of a traditional fire escape. They were thrilled with the operation, ease of installation and they practice exiting from them on a regular basis.

Betzalel’s son, Aharon, who is passionately involved in consumer safety (he created and oversees a 50-location car seat gemach in Israel), decided that this product is a necessity for every two- and three-story home. “This is literally going to save lives and will be a game changer in family safety,” says Aharon.

The father and son teamed up to create Safer Escape, with the aim of making these safety devices available to the local market. The ultimate plan is to expand the product line to other residential safety items, but for now they are focusing on selling the Modum ladder and educating the public on fire safety.

People spend more to insure their cars year after year; this is a one-time expense. For anyone who owns life or health insurance this is a no brainer, and the peace of mind is priceless.

Take the first step in protecting your family! To learn more and see the Safer Escape ladder in action, visit www.saferescape.com, or reach out to Aharon Mezei at (725) 2ESCAPE (237-2273) for a live demonstration. Can you afford not to?

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