My name is Troy Kumprey and I am the founder of Ladder Lockdown. I’d like to introduce you to the Ladder Lockdown All-in-One Saddle. This is a revolutionary safety device that I created simply to make laddering safer. Growing up I worked with my father, a carpenter, and eventually took on the trade as well.
Ladders were, and still are, a big part of my daily life and remain a necessity of my livelihood. Today I own a construction company, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of ladder accidents. My employees are like extended family, so in an effort to keep them safe, I set out to invent a tool that could make one of the most dangerous and commonly used tools in the world, safer to use. They are my why and it has become my mission to create the safest workspace possible for them. I created the Ladder Lockdown Saddle in hopes of reducing the risk of injuries and making sure my guys go home to their families at the end of the day.
For decades, people have tried coming up with ideas to make ladders more secure. Unfortunately, most of these solutions start at the top of the ladder, ignoring the blaring need for stability starting at the base. Ladder Lockdown is a device that anchors your ladder to the ground or surface on which it sits, reducing lateral movement and preventing ladder kick out. When I started researching, the statistics for workplace injuries shocked me. The majority of all workplace fall injuries involve the use of a ladder. There are over 250,000 visits to the ER each year in the US alone as a result of ladder related injuries.1 My employees work up on ladders every single day and the thought of one of them becoming a statistic was not something that I was going to let happen. The vision was clear, I needed to create a product that kept my employees safe, particularly from the dangers of laddering on the jobsite.
The Ladder Lockdown Saddle is a device made from 11 gauge cold rolled steel. The rubber grip tape on the bottom is a commercial grade neoprene designed to provide a strong grip on any hard, flat surface in virtually all working conditions, creating the safest possible non-slip platform to ladder from. This is how the Ladder Lockdown saddle adheres itself to wet or dry tile, concrete, wood, vinyl decking, and even icy sidewalks. It also comes with a nylon CAM buckle strap with a 400lb working load and 1200lb break strength, patented removable staples made of top quality zinc plated steel. Secured with serrated flange hex nuts for easy hand tightening, these staples anchor your ladder to soft ground such as muddy hills or wet grass while providing incredible traction and a stable laddering platform on soft surfaces.
By using Ladder Lockdown you decrease the chances of kick out and lateral tilt making your ladder a much safer platform to work on. Lateral movement can easily cause a climber to lose their balance, leading to a fall, serious injury, or even death. Reducing this shifting or movement is an extremely important factor in reducing ladder falls because 53% of ladder injuries are due to ladder movement.2
In a 2017 independent study performed by Applied Building Sciences, Inc. Tests showed that climbing a ladder with the Ladder Lockdown saddle is 25 times safer in most scenarios than climbing a ladder alone. This figure is astonishing. Not only does Ladder Lockdown reduce unwanted movement, it also expands the recommended laddering angle (according to ANSI) from a 75.5 degree angle to a 70 degree angle. This change in pitch makes for a much more comfortable and safe, climb and descent.
After personally testing Ladder Lockdown in the field for several weeks, I realized how well this device was working for me and my crew. I started to realize that this tool could help keep other people safe, too. Immediately I thought of my best friend, a New York City firefighter, and how this could help him and his fellow firefighters. My best friend is a realist and someone I look to for honest advice, so his opinion meant the world to me. I contacted him with a video of Ladder Lockdown and was blown away by his overwhelming support for my idea and what it could do for his men.
Firefighters all around the world put their lives on the line to keep others safe, they are the real-life heroes and now it was my turn to help keep them safe. I wanted his honest opinion on how Ladder Lockdown could impact him and the men and women he works alongside. I asked my friend to write a few words about how Ladder Lockdown would impact him as a firefighter and FDNY as a whole. The following are his thoughts and feelings about how our device could benefit the people who fight fires every day.
In 18 years of firefighting in New York City, I have found that the firefighting tends to be a reactionary line of work. Most safety devices don’t come along until after a tragedy takes place. I remember a Chief that I respect and admire telling me “Our books are written in blood”. It is sad but true. When it comes to portable ladders, I hope that does not need to be the case. Let’s get Ladder Lockdown saddles in every department and on every firefighting rig before another tragic chapter has to be written.
Within the ever-evolving world of firefighting, one thing that has remained constant is the use of portable ladders. They have remained necessary and they have remained dangerous. As in any part of firefighting, we must remain vigilant in the effort to prevent tragedies. A huge step toward this effort has been taken with the invention of Ladder Lockdown, a ladder anchoring device that can facilitate safer laddering on any surface when a member has no choice but to work alone.
Picture this scenario: A report of a fire in a private dwelling 2 blocks from your firehouse is received. Your ladder company is dispatched. You arrive at the scene and find fire blowing out of the front windows of the second floor and a civilian crying and yelling that her baby is inside. Our members begin performing their duties as they are trained to do. The inside team tries to enter through the first floor, the chauffer and roof man team up to execute their duties, and one member is responsible to ladder the second floor, opposite the fire, to vent, enter, and search. The correct size portable ladder is taken around to the rear so you can reach the upper floors. However, there is no additional member to butt the ladder. With all the extra weight of your gear and tools, the absence of this safety step has just made this evolution much more dangerous, if attainable at all. You don’t hear any other sirens; you know your second due truck company is at least 2-3 minutes away if you’re lucky. Any way to improvise and make this laddering effort safer does not present itself. What are the choices? We all know there are none…. we are people of action. We are going to throw that ladder up against the house, get it to the window, climb it and hope for the best.
In this situation, Ladder Lockdown could be the difference between life and death. On any surface, it would prevent the ladder from kicking out or tumbling over while supporting not only your weight, but also possibly the weight of a victim you may be rescuing. While nothing can take the place of a competent member butting a ladder in use, Ladder Lockdown would provide the greatest level of safety we can find when we have no choice but to operate alone.
“Our books are written in blood. It is sad but true.” This is the unfortunate truth that many regulatory measures follow in the firefighting industry. It takes a tragic event for new rules to be implemented in the workplace. Fortunately, we have an amazing opportunity to change the way firefighters use ladders, in hopes that this rule won’t have to be written in blood.
The Ladder Lockdown Saddle is a simple device that, when implemented, can prevent injuries, save lives, and keep our heroes safer. It is a compact device that is easily carried over the shoulder and takes up very little room in the rig. It is something that should be considered a necessary tool when fighting fires and saving lives. It takes just a few seconds to set up Ladder Lockdown which is crucial in emergency situations. With Ladder Lockdown, laddering is transformed into a one man job. By securing the base of the ladder, it removes the need to have a second person butting the ladder. Of course, having back up is always ideal, but that’s not always possible in emergency situations. Firefighters will be able take action quickly, and get help where it’s needed.
We at Ladder Lockdown understand the frustration that comes with change, but we believe in evolution and progression. We believe that things get better with time. Throughout history, changes in safety regulations have been met with resistance and hesitation. Seatbelts in cars, protective ear wear, eyewear and hard hats. These are just some of the concrete safety precautions that we use today that were met with negativity and apprehension when they were first implemented in the workplace.
We understand that change can be difficult, but statistics tend not to lie.
Statistics show that people who wear seat belts in automobile accidents have a much higher chance of not getting injured or killed during a car crash. Statistics show that wearing protective gear such as eyewear and ear wear help in preventing loss of sight and hearing in workplace incidents. Statistics show that wearing hard hats on job sites prevents head injuries from falling objects. With these situations in mind, remember that Ladder Lockdown is a safety device just like the seat belt or a hard hat.
We do not have statistics to show how much it has helped yet, but what we do have are statistics showing how much safer you will be when using Ladder Lockdown. In the very near future, we will have statistics supporting our mission in similar fashion to the safety devices that are widely used in the workplace today.
Our goal is to make laddering safer for not just firefighters, but for anyone that uses a ladder at work or at home. At Ladder Lockdown we have created a Residential saddle ($119) and an Industrial saddle ($199) to meet the needs of both the workman and the homeowner. There is no price that can be put on keeping your loved ones and colleagues out of harms way, but the Ladder Lockdown Saddle can give you the peace of mind that you have done everything in your power to keep them as safe as possible.
For more information, go to www.LadderLockdown.com
1 NEISS 2015
2 Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety Volume 15 Number 3 Winter 2012