Is a ramp safe for me?
When looking to buy a new ramp for your wheelchair, scooter or lift you’ll want to make sure the ramp that you choose is safe. There are several important considerations. Failing to maximize safety features on and around your ramp can increase the chances for injury. Take your time, ask for help, and be thorough.
Depending on the length of your ramp, and the slope it is going to need to cover, these safety features should be a priority when assessing ramp options.
Even Ground/Stable Surface
Both ends of the ramp must be stable and flush with the surface beneath the ramp in order to make it easier to steer equipment up or down the ramp without difficulty.
Hand Rails are not possible with every type or size of ramp but they do offer extra support when needed so if you need hand rails this may be a deal breaker when it comes to choosing one ramp over another.
Strips of Gator Grip or some other non-slip material will provide adequate traction, especially during rain or snow. Other ramps such as the Q-Ramp are made with a non-slip material and offer drainage to minimize risk of slipping.
The lip or increase in grade between the ramp and, for example, a front step, needs to be accounted for. The Pride Mobility Rubber Threshold Ramp can easily solve this problem. The Handicare EZ-Access Aluminum Threshold Ramp provides a great alternative to rubber.
Weatherproofed or Pressure-treated Materials
Wood, metal, concrete, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and composite are the best choices when choosing materials. Provided the ramp comes from a quality manufacturer or is built by a certified tradesperson, these materials will withstand extreme weather conditions and last you a long time. Each material will come with it’s own pros and cons so you’ll want to have a representative assist you with finding the solution that will best meet your needs.
To access the ramp safely when getting both on and off, there needs to be sufficient clearance when turning and reversing. How much clearance or space you require will depend on the size of your mobility device. If your ramp is travelling a particularly steep incline you’ll need to have quite a bit of length which may also force a turn or two at platforms throughout the ramp. Without these turns your ramp may be too steep or may be so long it lands you in the street! Your representative will be able to find you the most appropriate configuration based on the amount of space you have to work with.
It is important to follow building code and standards specific to your area. Typically this standard is a foot in length for every inch in rise in order for the ramp to be at a safe incline. Contact your local government office for more information. Your local vendor also has qualified staff who can answer these questions for you.
Whether you are at the beginning of a potential ramp project, seeking to improve the safety of your existing ramp, or just looking to learn more, be diligence and ask more than one source. By doing so, you will deepen your perspective and strengthen your decision making ability.
We’ll work with you to find something that fits your budget as best possible however it’s important to remember that when you can, paying a little extra could mean the added safety and protection you need for your family or loved one. Increasing the potential for injury by cutting corners is never the answer. Be smart, and stay safe.