For Cops, By Cops
with Loraine Burger
The Jammer keeps doors open in lightweight fashion
Sometimes the most routine of jobs can go sideways, and an open door can be the difference between life and death
Business Name: R.E.D. Products LLC
Product: The Jammer
Officer / Department: Retired Sgt. Tom Surowiec, Union City N.J. Police
Former Officer Tom Surowiec had been told time and time again by his supervisor to never let a door close behind him. It wasn't until a routine patrol went sideways that he realized just how critical that advice was. The Jammer insures that an officer will not be locked in our out of a room and that back-up can always find their way in.
What is your signature product? The Jammer is a simple candy-cane shaped device that hangs over a door hinge to keep it from closing. It’s made of polypropylene plastic, weighs only 19 grams, and fits perfectly in the shirt pocket of a Class A uniform.
Where did the idea come from? One day I was doing a simple job that started to go sideways – and then it went really sideways. I ended up in a physical altercation with the tenants of an apartment and when back-up arrived, they couldn’t get into the room because the door had closed behind me and was locked. I was eventually able to roll close enough to the door to get it open and the cavalry saved me.
After that, I started carrying around a plastic wedge with me, but it was inconvenient, required manual dexterity, it took my attention away from a situation to put in place, and could easily be kicked out of place. It wasn’t until I saw a firefighter entering a building and using a large wooden dowel with a nail bent over 180 degrees that I got the idea for the Jammer.
How did that idea turn into a product? I went to a plastic factory and had the Jammers hand made, and started using one at work – it worked fantastically. So I started handing them around at work.
What are the benefits of the Jammer versus a similar product? You often see officers at work using books, newspapers, even pieces of carpet to keep a door open. Other items wedged in a door aren’t secure, can easily fall out, and can take too much time to put in place.
There are no moving parts or pieces to the Jammer. The first thing you lose under stress is fine motor skills – the last thing an officer needs to be figuring out is how to put something together. The Jammer literally just hangs over the door hinge and won’t move.
The high visibility yellow color of the Jammer allows you to mark a room, can serve to remind you which door you entered, and allows your back-up to quickly locate you.
The Jammer will stay in place until it is removed – which can be vital in many situations. Not only is a locked door hazardous, it can be unprofessional. If a first responder has to take a break from administering CPR to let EMTs into the building, for example, that incident can come back later to haunt you.
The Jammer is proudly made in the U.S., at a plastic factory in my home state of New Jersey.
How does it work? The Jammer, which can be stored in a pocket, service vest, or helmet, hangs over a door hinge vertically as illustrated in the video above.
How did you test it out? I first began handing the Jammer out at work to fellow officers. Then I went to a fire trade show in New Jersey to sell them, and I couldn’t keep the product on the table. I invested in getting a mold made and tried out different types of plastic until I had the perfect product.
Where can you purchase the Jammer? The Jammer comes in a two-pack for $12 at www.thejammerusa.com and is available in bright yellow and black.