Fire Prevention Week Day 5: Get out safely with the Evac+Chair

On September 11, 2001, 8 people were brought to safety from the Twin Towers. These were 8 people who would have normally not been able to evacuate on their own. These are 8 people who live today because of the existence of the Evac+Chair, a lightweight portable chair that could beome a standard part of most evacuation plans in the U.S.

Making it his mission to educate companies and schools about the Evac+Chair is vice president Richard Perl, resident of Wyckoff in Bergen County.

“It doesn’t take the disaster level of the Twin Towers attack to keep in mind the importance of getting all occupants out of a multi-story building safely,” said Perl. “With ADA we have regulations for getting people into buildings safely, but how do we get them back out?”

The Evac+Chair was invented by family friend David Egen whose wife was slightly disabled from a bout with polio. There was a fire drill at her employment and it took hours for her to get out. Like all great inventions, the Evac+Chair came out of necessity and was constructed in a way so that anyone can use it and not just the biggest or strongest person.

Perl reflected on a demo he did at an Elementary School where the Evac+Chair caught the interest of one of the custodians. “As the only male in the building, he was the only answer in an emergency to get people out.”

Traveling to schools, companies and trade shows is how Perl is spreading the word about the Evac+Chair, which is an international product but still not a mandate in the U.S. And not-surprisingly, it’s a lot of wives and mothers who generate buzz about the chair.

“I’ll have women call their husband after seeing the Evac+Chair demo and ask, ‘what does your company have in place for an evacuation?’,” recalled Perl. “We have a lot of interest from parents and PTA members in the schools which is no surprise.”

While Perl is working hard to get the Evac+Chair pushed through legislation, we can certainly do our part as bloggers, parents, wives, husbands and family members to spread the word about the Evac+Chair.

For more information about the Evac+Chair, go to or contact Rich Perl of Evac+Chair North America, LLC at (516) 502-4240

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