Crains New York

Seeking a Sense of Safety

Panic Room isn't just a film out of Hollywood's overactive imagination. Particularly since after Sept. 11, interest in fortified hiding places — for both residential and corporate spaces — has grown dramatically in New York City.

Gaffco, a Manhattan-based manufacturer and installer of so-called "safe rooms," is reaping the benefits. In 2000, the company installed 25 rooms; last year, 32. Only five months into 2002, 51 rooms are already done or in the works. Inquiries into Gaffco's services are up about 120% this year compared with 2001.

Safe rooms are "designed to protect occupants from intruders until help can arrive—generally up to 30 minutes," says Chief Executive Tom Gaffney. Costs range from a low of about $50,000 to well into six figures, if high-end electrical and ventilation systems and wood finishes are included.