Living a life in a wheelchair is certainly not easy. One of the biggest challenges is thresholds and stairs. If there is no suitable ramp, the person in a wheelchair won’t be able to pass over these obstacles. And while their home is equipped with suitable ramps, not every object out of their home has them. Getting a disabled access ramp should be one of the first things to consider.
It will help you and the person in a wheelchair to get out of a vehicle, and into any object that has no suitable entrance for a wheelchair. A portable ramp is one of the best options since it can be folded and carried in the car, placed anywhere you need it and then fold it back again. Some of these portable ramps are semi-permanent. This means they can be moved, but also they can work for one place only. Here are the things you should consider before buying a ramp.
Types of Wheelchair/Scooter Ramps
There are various types of wheelchair ramps so you should be careful at choosing the type that works best for your needs.
Threshold Wheelchair Ramp
This model is the most common when it comes to disabled ramps. They help the person get past slightly raised landings or doorway thresholds. In most cases, these are made of aluminium or rubber and can be easily moved and transported to any threshold or landing you need. You can even trim or notch this ramp if you need to customize it.
Suitcase Wheelchair Ramps
These ramps are used for passing over stairs, curbs or for vehicle access. Suitcase wheelchair ramps can be folded when you have to transport them, but once they are unfolded they are sturdy and can endure a larger weight that passes over them.
Solid Wheelchair Ramp
These types of ramps are heavy-duty ramps made of one sturdy piece. They stay in place, but you can move them as needed. These types of ramps are perfect for accessing buildings that have steps; you can also get handrails with these ramps.
Consider the Size and Slope – bolded kw
One of the most important things when choosing disabled access ramp is its size. The ramp should be a bit narrower than the opening where you want to place it. However, it should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. When it comes to slope, for every metre of height, the ramp should be at least 3.6m metres long. When choosing your ramp, be sure there is enough head clearance so you can safely load the wheelchair and its user.
Width of the Ramp
Wheelchair ramps have different weights, and it mostly depends on the material used as well as the size of the ramp. Make sure to check the weight of the ramp and if it is reasonable for your needs. In case the ramp will be frequently moved, then you will need something that isn’t so heavy for lifting and moving. Don’t forget to look at the stated weight capacity; the weight of the chair, the weight of the user and the weight of the caregiver joined together should be heavier than the ramp’s total weight capacity.
Check the Materials
Wheelchair ramps are made of different materials. Some of the most common materials are aluminium, rubber, steel and wood. The material you select should depend on the location and portability demands of the ramp. Rubber and aluminium are very common materials used for portable ramps. Aluminium is not heavy and won’t corrode so if you need a portable ramp that won’t be a burden to lift and transport, this is your ideal option. If you need an indoor ramp, that you won’t have to move or lift, then steel, rubber or wood are good choices. Steel is sturdy and won’t get damaged by no weight.
Weight and Ease of Transport
Most sellers will suggest that aluminium portable ramps or fibreglass are lightweight and therefore convenient to carry. If you need a ramp for getting the person out of a vehicle, or taking them to work or school (especially if the ramp in these objects is non-existent or has a big slope) then a lightweight model will meet all your needs. Ramps made of these materials can be secured for semi-permanent placements. Make sure that the ramp is capable of enduring the weight of the person in the wheelchair, the wheelchair and the person who pushes them.
In Australia, the step ramp shouldn’t be steeper than 1:10 and not longer than 1900mm. The threshold ramp shouldn’t be steeper than 1:8 and not longer than 280mm (used as a doorway). Kerb ramp shouldn’t be steeper than 1:8 and not longer than 1520mm and a ramp should be steeper than 1:20 but not more than 1:14.
There are a variety of ramps to provide appropriate access to buildings and facilities and throughout the external environment.
The disabled access ramp should have clear, easy to read signage, with relevant international symbols of access or deafness that can easily be read by a person that stands or seats. There should also be suitable raised tactile and Braille elements.