Eliminating Falling Risks with Wheelchair Ramps
One of the most important mobility solutions is the wheelchair ramp. Users of scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers rely on wheelchair ramps to navigate changes in elevation. Stairlifts of Louisiana offers a wide variety of wheelchair ramps for sale in Baton Rouge, LA. Before investing in any of our ramp solutions, it’s important to consider safety.
Ramps that are too steep are dangerous because they are difficult to climb and because they put the user at risk for tipping backwards. In general terms, the lower the incline, the safer the ramp. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends that wheelchair ramps have a 1:12 slope. This means that every 1 inch of rise requires 12 inches (1 foot) of ramp. A five-inch rise requires a 5-foot ramp, a 10-inch rise requires a 10-foot ramp, and so on. Ramps can be as long as needed, but the ADA recommends that no single run be longer than 30 feet; ramps that are longer should include a reinforced flat resting spot. Ramps also need guardrails in place throughout to keep users from sliding off the edge.
Safe landings at the top and bottom are also essential. Landings need to be level and measure at least 5’ x 5’. They can be existing features of the space or they can be constructed as part of the ramp, but they need to be at least the same width as the ramp and include rails or walls on the side to prevent falling. You also need to take care to provide smooth and safe transitions between the ramp and the landings. The weight of a wheelchair moves from the front wheels to the back when the chair moves off a ramp; this sudden weight shift can cause the wheelchair to stop quickly and thrust the user forward. Safe landings allow for a gradual transition.
Ramps located outside in areas that get lots of rain and snow need to provide traction for wheelchair and scooter users. They also need to drain properly, be weather resistant, and have a non-slip surface to keep users safe in any weather conditions. Open mesh surfaces allow water to drain and prevent slippery ice from forming.
In addition, you need to keep your ramp clean and clear from leaves, branches, and other materials. When allowed to build up, these materials can make it difficult to navigate a mobility device on the ramp and may pose a safety hazard to caregivers. Use a broom or plastic shovel to brush debris or snow from your ramp; never use a metal shovel.
Mobility devices, especially electric wheelchairs, can be heavy. And, when you add the weight of the operator and the caregiver, the weight a wheelchair ramp needs to carry can be considerable. Make sure the ramp you install is engineered to handle the combined weight of the chair, the user, and the caregiver.
Safety is Priority #1
While it can be challenging to construct a wheelchair ramp that meets these safety guidelines, safety should be the number one priority. Call Stairlifts of Louisiana today to discover the many options we have available for wheelchair ramps in LA. Our experts are here to help you find the mobility solutions you need and comply with all the ADA recommended safety guidelines. For assistance with a wide range of mobility devices, including stair lifts, residential elevators, auto lifts, and ramps, trust Stairlifts of Louisiana.