Valley Cottage, NY—
“For some, the need for a ramp is urgent and time-sensitive, due to a fall or surgery. We want consumers to have all the information at their hands when they are making these important decisions,”
Cheap Today Could be Expensive Tomorrow
A sole focus on the cheapest option available could lead to future financial issues. An unusable wheelchair ramp installed by someone unfamiliar in ramp safety could be a waste of money, while the maintenance cost of some cheaper ramp options can add up over time to an unsustainable amount.
Homemade is Not Always Best
“At National Ramp, we regularly see examples of people taking the ramp into their own hands, and rarely are these ramps safe for anyone to use, let alone a person in a wheelchair. Some consumers reach out to us once they realize how dangerous that homemade ramp is,” said Walker.
ADA Requirements Exist for a Reason
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law offering federal protections for people with disabilities. Within the law are guidelines for an ada handicap ramp. While these guidelines are not mandatory for residential facilities (depending on local codes), adherence to these guidelines is strongly advised, especially for people self-ambulating in a manual wheelchair or using a walker.
According to Walker, “While a power chair or scooter may allow for a shorter ramp than the ADA suggests, you should never install a ramp at a slope steeper than your device’s user manual recommends. A trained, knowledgeable dealer can work with you to make sure the ramp is safe for your regular use.”
National Ramp published a summary of the ADA ramp requirements (here).
Ask Questions of the Ramp Dealer
Some commercially-available ramps are narrower than the ADA-required 36”. These ramps could cause someone with a wide mobility device to scrape their hands on the ramp or catch their wheels on the corners of the platforms.
“Make sure to ask questions about the dimensions and comfort of the ramp by the dealer during the home assessment. A knowledgeable dealer should offer you a ramp that is wide and safe enough for your use,” said Walker. “And before they leave after the ramp install, you or someone you trust should test the ramp to make sure it isn’t moving and that all handrail connections are smooth.”
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Wheelchair ramps are not just for people who use wheelchairs. For those who have a history of trips and uneasy footing, a ramp can be a huge preventative measure against the damage and cost of a fall.