Specially designed safety hooks delivered to Chatham-Kent

MUNICIPALITY: To be installed in facilities

Posted By TREVOR TERFLOTH, THE DAILY NEWS

A tragic incident from more than a decade ago could make local facilities safer for children. Approximately 2,700 specially designed coat hooks were delivered to the municipality yesterday. Henkel Hook created the devices, which can support about 26 pounds, so the weight of a child will cause the hook to collapse.

Mike Neuts was on hand for the delivery, which was held at the Kinsmen Auditorium. His son Myles died after he was found hanging, unconscious, by his clothing from a hook in the washroom stall of St. Agnes Catholic School in Chatham in 1998.

However, Neuts was pleased that the hooks could lessen the chance of a reoccurrence. “Kids are kids and they do silly things to each other, not even thinking about the ramifications,” he said. “Anytime you can remove a source of danger . . . it’s a good day.”

Council approved spending $19,000 on the hooks during the last budget process.

Brian Bennett, facilities supervisor, said shower areas and washrooms were done first, with dressing rooms and other locations to follow. “If any child has got their clothing caught on that hook it will release,” he said.

Jim Henkel, president of the London-based company and hook inventor, said it was the largest single order he’s had to fill. There is really no reason for that tragic event to have occurred,” he said. Henkel said the Neuts incident — as well as a similar one in London – – helped motivate him to do something. Although he’s an accountant by profession, Henkel said he had an interest in engineering.

There are no springs in the hooks, which instead use magnets. Henkel said he’s sold them across North America. “I think Chatham-Kent should be commended for their interest in doing the responsible thing,” he said.

tterfloth@chathamdailynews.ca