Municipal and State Budget Cuts Lead to Fewer First Responders, Longer Emergency Response Times

Evac+Chair® North America Advises Facility Owners and Managers to Stock Emergency Evacuation Chairs, Develop Evacuation Plans to Improve Life Safety

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., July 7, 2010 –EVAC+CHAIR® From Los Angeles to New York, cities and municipalities are dealing with deep budget cuts, many of which affect police and fire departments. In light of these measures, EVAC+CHAIR® North America, LLC cautions building owners and managers to take up the slack in emergency management caused by decreased budgets, fire house closures, and police and fire department layoffs. The firm advises that now more then ever, it is crucial to stock emergency evacuation chairs to rescue mobility-impaired occupants from a building or public facility during a fire or other disaster.

"Emergency response times to fires will be longer now that fire houses are closing and fire departments are shrinking," noted Rich Perl, vice president of business development for EVAC+CHAIR® North America, which distributes the EVAC+CHAIR®, a lightweight emergency evacuation chair for stairway use. EVAC+CHAIR® has been the industry standard worldwide for portable evacuation devices since its invention in 1982.

According to the National League of Cities, the municipal budget shortfalls for 2010 to 2012 are projected to be as high as $56-$83 billion, due to state cuts and declining tax collections; these cuts are already affecting fire and police departments as cities and towns wrestle with declining revenues and continued or increased service demands. That all translates into fewer firefighters and policemen who can get to a fire quickly and assist occupants in an evacuation.

"Any multi-story building should have an emergency evacuation plan in place, especially in commercial properties such as office buildings," said Perl. "In big cities, with a preponderance of high-rise apartment and office buildings, getting people who need assistance down the stairs efficiently can mean the difference between life and death." Perl recommends placing an evacuation chair at every exit on every floor, and training building occupants in its use and location as part of an evacuation plan.

EVAC+CHAIR®'s narrow profile allows first responders and other building occupants to ascend or descend staircases during an emergency without interference, and its unique design allows most able-bodied users to assist anyone with mobility impairments or other conditions in need of help with relative ease. It serves as a veritable lifeboat for stairways, and was a key factor in the rescue of several disabled occupants from the Twin Towers during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

EVAC+CHAIR® North America sells the portable evacuation chair and other assistive devices to owners and managers of multi-story commercial properties and public facilities throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. The EVAC+CHAIR® is found in industrial buildings, office and apartment buildings, hospitals and nursing homes, academic and residential buildings at colleges and universities, and theatres, stadiums and arenas—any facility where anyone might need assistance due to a temporary or permanent disability or mobility impairment.

"As building managers and owners weigh the costs and benefits associated with stocking an evacuation device such as the EVAC+CHAIR®, the cost of lost lives and all that ensues from that kind of tragedy must be a critical part of the life safety equation," said Perl. For more information about the EVAC+CHAIR® or for a demonstration, call (516) 502-4240, email Rich Perl at sales@evac-chair.com, or go to www.evac-chair.com.