Sixth-grade teacher Kevin LaMonda of Shokan was deeply shaken by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. A few days later, there was a lockdown drill at Bennett Elementary School, where LaMonda teaches. His wife, Heather, recalled that he came home that day saying, “There has to be a better way to lock down a classroom.”
Kevin went to his desk and began sketching out ideas that resulted in the invention of the InSlide Lockdown device — a simple mechanism that takes two minutes to screw onto a door and enables a teacher to lock a door instantly from inside the room in an emergency situation. The device is in use at many schools in northern Europe, and the LaMondas have donated over 100 units to local elementary schools.
“Most doors key-lock from the corridor side,” explained Kevin. “The teacher has to locate the key before locking the door. Plus the key only works for your room. Kids go to and from gym, lunch — even little kids can travel six times a day through a building, and the teacher only has the ability to lock down one room. With this device, you could step into any room and lock it down instantly, without a key.”
At the end of the school day, the door is locked by key from the outside. After unlocking with the key in the morning, the InSlide can be activated in an emergency with a sliding panel that engages the locking mechanism. An internal notch prevents small children from locking or unlocking the door, and the teacher can easily unlock it when needed.
Heather, who currently works as a designer of cabinets and furniture, has a degree in interior design. She recreated Kevin’s sketch on CAD software, complete with multiple elevations and views. They printed out the device on paper and folded it up to see how it would work. At Methods Tooling in Mount Marion, near Saugerties, said Heather, “We got up to speed on different kinds of metals, what’s going to rust, rubber coating, powder dipping, screw holes. They’re our manufacturing guys and engineers. They really worked with us and saw the need for it.” Once metal prototypes had been produced, the LaMondas tested them out on the bedroom doors at home. They went on to do extensive field testing in schools and office buildings, as an added layer of protection for the public.
Market in Europe
The device costs under $20, making it affordable for most schools to install on all their classrooms. Investors have inquired into purchasing the company, but the LaMondas, determined to keep the price low, declined the offers. They have distribution in Europe through the Institute of Swedish Safety and Security, a risk management company that designs lockdown and safety procedures in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
Kevin spends time on Facebook and Twitter, making contacts to market the product. In fact, it was a tweet that attracted the attention of the European distributor. InSlide was also nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards. “We were one of 12 finalists in the category for industrial design,” said Kevin. “We grabbed a lot of publicity and feedback. It felt good to be considered an innovative company.”
The LaMondas want their business to be a role model as well. They use local services, from manufacturing to website and logo design. “We want to really give back and do the right thing and have our company stand for that,” noted Kevin, who is the son of former high school teacher Carol LaMonda and former Olive town councilman Bruce LaMonda. Bruce accompanied Kevin and his brother to Tanzania last year on behalf of InSlide Lockdown. They brought along school supplies that they donated to Rosha Elementary School. “They didn’t need InSlides,” Kevin noted. “They needed pencils, pen, papers, and markers.”