Irish Independent

‘Safe room’ firm safe bet for Sligoman

by Jim Aughney

SLIGOMAN - Tom Gaffney is taking the panic out of attacks in the home through his company Gaffco which installs 'safe rooms' in business premises, banks, and in the homes of concerned citizens.

Mr Gaffney, originally from Ballinafad, Co Sligo, moved to the United States in 1985 and has spent almost 20 years in the manufacture of safe rooms for government facilities, financial centres, leading corporations and individuals protecting people and assets.

Based in Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, Gaffco has a manufacturing centre in Mount Vernon in upstate New York.

The launch of the film Panic Room starring Hollywood actress Jodie Foster amid critical acclaim has turned the spotlight on safe rooms and their use.

Mr Gaffney prefers the industry term 'safe room' to the Hollywood name "Panic Room".

"Real life safe rooms are basically six sided enclosures made of bullet-resistant, fire coated steel and other bullet resistant materials," he said.

"They're designed to protect occupants from intruders until help can arrive generally up to 30 minutes, although we can add various levels of protection," Mr Gaffney said.

He says that safe rooms have been in use for many years by financial institutions.

"A secured teller's booth is actually a safe room," he explained.

Mr Gaffney says he can now custom design and install a safe room in almost any room in the home or office, and disguise it with materials like wood-clad, bullet resistant fibreglass.

Since September 11 there has been a heightened demand for safe rooms for domestic purposes.

"Having a safe room gives people a sense of greater control against possible intruders," Mr Gaffney said.

Prior to setting up his business in the US, Mr Gaffney worked in the European security industry.