Are Portable Wheelchair Ramps Safe?

Portable wheelchair ramps make it easy for wheelchair and scooter users to move from one inclined place to the next.  People using wheelchairs and scooters need help accessing raised places like buildings or cars.

Most of these ramps are strong enough to handle heavyweight and durable enough to stay in one place for a while.

These ramps are a good way to help you get to places you might otherwise find difficulty accessing.  They are usually made of aluminum and are portable so that they can be easy to transport from one place to another.

Why use portable wheelchair ramps?

There are instances when you need temporary use of ramps, some of these times are:

  • When recovering from surgery.
  • When caring for terminally ill patients or those in hospice.
  • In case, you have a guest in your home who is using a wheelchair.
  • For use by an elderly or frail person. For example, caring for your aging parent in your home.
  • To help get wheelchair users into vehicles.

You can buy or rent a portable wheelchair ramp. Before you choose which one to buy you, need to be aware of the different advantages and disadvantages;

Advantages

  1. They are light and foldable making them easy to carry around from one point to another.
  2. Portable ramps are easy to install. The user can just comfortably roll it out and use it to access a building or a vehicle.
  3. They are easy to store.
  4. Their anti-slip surfaces make them suitable for use in any weather condition.
  5. They are used indoors or outdoors.

Disadvantages

  1. Some ramps are too heavy for the frail to carry and use.
  2. Long ramps that do not have handrails are hard to use.
  3. Many portable wheelchair ramps need fastening using screws to make them stable. You, therefore, need to check and be sure that the ramp you intend to use needs to be fastened to the ground.

Types of Portable Wheel Chair Ramps

There are different types of portable wheelchair ramps available in today’s market. It is, therefore, easier for one to choose the most suitable ramp for them.

Threshold Ramps

This ramp is attached or it can also be used while free-standing.  They are made of aluminum and rubber. To attach it, drill holes to the floor and fasten it to the ground. They can move or transfer it to any place according to your needs.

You can adjust the height of the amp by turning the feet. You can raise or lower it to suit your needs. The ramps have two pairs of feet so that they can accommodate different thresholds. This makes it easy to use on uneven surfaces.

Channel Ramps

These are also called track ramps. They are made of two ramps fitted side by side. The ramps do not make a wide platform. The two tracks are arranged to fit wheelchair wheels.Adjustable Track Ramps

These ramps are durable and do not need to be fastened down. They are light in weight therefore easy to carry from one place to another. These ramps are not that stable especially for people driving their powered wheelchairs.

This ramp should be set according to the space separating the wheels. They need to fit exactly, which means that if the back wheels extend out wider than the front, the ramp will not be ideal for that particular wheelchair

Single Platform Ramps

These ramps are the most stable type of portable wheelchair ramps. They are flat from the beginning to the safe edge.

Once you finish using it, you can fold it and carry it like a suitcase. They give plenty of room to maneuver for wheelchairs and can easily support heavyweights.

Ensure the ramp will fit in your car before buying. This is because they only fold in the center.

Multifold Ramps

These portable ramps are designed for use in vehicles. This ramp is placed at the rear door of the car like a van or SUV to allow you to roll the wheelchair easily into the car. After use, you can just fold it and place it in the car.

Read: Wheel Chair Ramp Construction Requirements

 Pathway Ramps

These ramps work well for areas with just one or two steps and come with optional handrails. Their ramps can be fitted in place to become permanent.

Before choosing a suitable and safe portable wheelchair ramp to use, there are several facts one must put into consideration:

  • Weight capacity: make sure to add the weight of the wheelchair, the user and the caregiver pushing it up the ramp.
  • Safety edges: the safety edges are to ensure that the wheelchair does not incline off the incline. This is meant for longer ramps. Short ramps do not need safety edges.
  • Nonskid surfaces: since portable ramps are for use indoors or outdoors, one should ensure that the ramp has a non-skid surface. This can be rubber coating or any other non-slip material. If the ramp you have bought does not have a non-skid surface, apply non-slip mats or strips to the surface.
  • Drainage holes: if the ramp is outside, it should have drainage holes to prevent water and snow from collecting on its surface. This is also to prevent the caregiver from pushing the wheelchair up the ramp from slipping and falling.
  • Handrails: this is especially necessary for long ramps to keep people from falling off the ramp. It can also help the wheelchair user to stop themselves if rolling too far.
  • Transition plates: these are on the bottom of the ramp to let the wheelchair transition smoothly to the ground.
  • Length of the ramp: consider the slope of the ramp. A longer ramp will make a gentle slope and a shorter ramp makes a steep slope. If you use a short ramp for a high vertical rise, it can be dangerous.
  • User instructions: make sure you use the proper user guides while installing the ramp.

Conclusion

No matter the type of ramp you choose to use, you need to make sure that it is the safest option according to the place and the person using it.