In a bid to prevent suicide by hanging a ceiling fan and slash rising number of suicide attempts by hanging, Sharad Ashani, an Indian man, has invented an ‘anti-suicide’ ceiling fan rod that has an unlatching mechanism. The innovation to prove its feasibility took over a decade.
What had motivated him to think of an anti-suicide ceiling fan rod?
It was the death of Indian Model Nafisa Joseph’s suicide that spurred him on creating such a ceiling fan rod that could save lives by having an unlatching mechanism. In a bid to prevent suicide attempts and rising number of suicides by hanging.
Ashani, a retired employee of an electric firm, has recently improved upon the original design of the rod and started its production at his workshop in Mumbai.
According to Indian Crime Record Bureau, around 130,000 people commit suicide each year in which 60,000 people do it by hanging themselves with ceiling fans.
“What I am doing is stopping people from accessing the most used avenue to commit suicides in the country”, he said while being interviewed to an international newspaper.
Ashani’s plan to save lives hinges on the safety down rod. When someone tries to hang themselves, the rod disengages from the fan, and deposits the person safely on the ground. The rod comes with an unlatching mechanism that is activated the moment the load on the fan exceeds a determined value.
He has also obtained a patent for his invention, wants every ceiling fan to feature his safety rod instead of the regular rod fans comes with today.
“The spring expands and the person lands on the ground safety without the motor housing or blades causing injuries. This is my way of giving back to society. We are least bothered about safety. The helmet had to be made mandatory for people to start wearing it. I’d think this rod too could save many lives if its use is popularised,” says Ashani, whose idea was one of the winners of an invention competition, in 2011.
After conducting nearly 500 trials of his product in a decade, he was granted an approval from the concerned ministry to incorporate ‘wiring’ into his safety down rod.
“The design of the spring used in the rod, too, has been created in-house. Designing a spring is the work of a mechanical engineer, but I did a lot of research and got around to creating one. When I was testing it many years ago, the fan fell on my head, but thankfully, I was wearing a helmet. Now, my equipment is fully tested and safe”, he said.
The 61-year-old has so far produced over 100 rods, and says that his firm is equipped to build about 10,000 units a month. He is also open to donating rods to hostels, and will soon start meeting fan manufacturers to gauge their interest.
Ashani says that unlike most retirees, he does not intent to travel, or relax, and, instead, is already working on adding more features to the safety down rod. “I’m trying to incorporate an alarm into the set-up, so that people will be alerted.”