2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Wheelchair Brakes Prevent Falls
The crop farmer/mechanic launched his business after learning about the problem of rollaway wheelchairs from his son Zack, who works at a nursing home.
Residents with dementia or other problems often forget to lock the brakes, and they fall when they get in and out of their wheelchairs. Or, sometimes the brakes get out of adjustment. By preventing falls caused by rollaway wheelchairs, Ford recognized he could prevent serious injuries, save lives and save millions in insurance costs. Medical expense related to falls totals more than $20 billion annually in the U.S., and is projected to climb to $32 billion annually by 2020.
Ford, who loves to tinker and has made a variety of useful items through the years, told his son he would invent something, and one Sunday in April 2004, he did. He still has the prototype built with conduit, two welding rods, springs, and miscelleaneous parts he picked up at the hardware store. After successful trials in various facilities and winning top inventor awards, Ford refined his system and found southeast Minnesota businesses to manufacture the parts. He assembles the Jerry-Lock Brake on new Everest and Jennings wheelchairs and ships them directly from his farm.
He uses existing holes on the wheelchair to mount his brake system, and he doesn't remove the wheelchair's standard brakes.
"We don't recommend that people stop using their regular brakes," Ford says, noting it's an important habit to maintain if they get in wheelchairs without his system. "Ours basically is a back-up safety brake system. If someone forgets to put on manual factory brakes, our automatic brakes save them."
His goal is to sell his braking system on quality wheelchairs for a reasonable price. His website lists 18-in. chairs with the Jerry-Lock brake at $575. He also offers an Incline brake model (for intermittent braking coming down ramps and hills) and an Attendant brake model (brakes an attendant can apply on the handles) for $525 each.
Ford has sold Safe-T-Chairs throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas. He invites dealership inquiries.
To better understand how the system works, Ford suggests watching the 2-minute video on the homepage of his website.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jerry Ford Company, LLC, 29309 Hwy. 74, St. Charles, Minn. 55972 (ph 866 800-6049; email@example.com; www.jerry fordcompany.com).
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