Wood vs. Aluminum: Why Aluminum Ramps Rock in 2016

wooden vs aluminum

For years, businesses and homes alike depended on wooden ramps to provide equal access for all. Subtly meshing with their environment and even adding warmth to the landscape, these ramps allowed mobility devices to tackle porches, stairs, and uneven thresholds with ease. However, as innovations in ramp technology have ushered in new materials and systems, wooden ramps are becoming a thing of the past. Their benefits pale in comparison to their detriments, a list that seems to grow over time. Some key points to consider before investing in this older option:

  • Built for a very specific fit; not conducive to moving around the property or to another house
  • Requires tools like saws and screwdrivers to imbed hardware like screws, nails, and bolts
  • Require routine maintenance to prevent and treat rot
  • Must apply grip tape to weatherproof surface and prevent slips
  • Susceptible to warping due to moisture from humidity, rain, and snow, as well as cracking from overexposure to sun and heat
  • Combined costs of contractor, building permit, manual labor, and supplies add up
  • Expected life span of three to five years
  • Reduces property value

It’s a lot to juggle.

Consider, however, a more manageable option that provides the same – if not enhanced – accessibility. Made of durable aluminum, the Pathway Modular Access System provides complete home accessibility to fit your needs. Compare a life with aluminum to one with wood and decide for yourself:

  • Less expensive
  • Speedy set-up
  • Customizable; can add and subtract ramps, stairs, platforms, and railings as needed
  • Easily transportable in the event of a house relocation
  • No building permits required
  • Low maintenance
  • Special metallic blend protects material from the elements
  • Durable, long-lasting solution

EZ-ACCESS is committed to providing access to life beyond barriers, and we’re dedicated to helping connect you with the easiest, most durable solution to fit your home and your needs. If you have questions after consulting our online catalog, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-451-1903 for expert assistance.

Why We LOVE the HAULWAY Standard Scooter and Power Chair Lift

haulway chair lift

We tried, but we can’t hold it back:

We’re in love.

We’re in head over heels, heart pounding, makes-you-loopy love with the HAULWAY Standard Scooter and Power Chair Lift! Rather than keeping it to ourselves, we want to share exactly why this lift makes the perfect partner for your mobility device:

  • It’s adaptable: Whether it’s a medium-sized scooter or a four-wheeled complex power chair, HAULWAY Standard won’t discriminate with its care. Holding weight capacities up to 275 pounds, it can accommodate a range of mobility devices. It’s ready to flex to your needs, with the addition of the optional Swingaway installation, which allows total access to your vehicle’s tailgate, rear door, and cargo area with utter ease.
  • It’s all about offering support: This love is built on security. The hold-down arm eliminates the need for cumbersome straps or rope, locking your mobility chair in place while on the move, and a full boxed frame offers added protection and peace of mind as it protects your precious cargo. Like a giant hug, the integrated suspension system even keeps your chair snugly in place to protect it from bumps in the road.
  • It’s there for you when and how you need it: Van? SUV? Truck? Take your pick. It works in tandem with any vehicle capable of supporting a Hitch Class level II or III, opening the door for easy transport adventures.
  • It picks up after itself: Talk about low maintenance. HAULWAY automatically folds up when not in use, neatly packing itself up out of your way without being told. With a quick turn of a key, the lift raises and lowers your mobility device with an automatic tilt to protect the safety of both you and your chair.
  • It’s in it for the long-term: Made with durable materials to withstand the toughest of storms, HAULWAY isn’t prepared to flake on you anytime soon. However, it comes with a three-year limited warranty to protect your purchase from life’s curveballs.

If you’re not feeling the love, HAULWAY offers other chair lift options to help you find The One. Let a representative at EZ-ACCESS know how they can play matchmaker to find the perfect accessibility product for you today!

Question to Ask When Choosing a Home Ramp

questions home ramp

A porch, a step or two, an uneven threshold – the smallest features can be the biggest barriers to accessibility for mobility devices. A home ramp can make your house an accessible safe haven for you and caregivers alike, and the options for assistance seem endless. As you search for the best-fit ramp for your home and needs, let these questions from EZ-ACCESS guide you:

  1. What mobility device am I accommodating? From temporary manual wheelchairs to three-wheeled scooters to four-wheeled complex power chairs, assistive mobility devices run the gamut. Ramps differ in material, weight capacity, and function, so begin your search with a list of your mobility device’s specifications handy to find the best fit ramp.
  2. Is this a long-term living situation? If your living arrangement looks stable for at least another year, investing in a free-standing ramp is your best option. Aluminum ramps are more durable and customizable than wooden options, and they’re more easily packed up in the event of a move. But, if a move to a more accessible home or assisted living facility is in the near future, a portable option might be enough to support you during the transition. Designed for transport, portable ramps are lightweight, foldable, and cost-efficient options that allow you to maneuver over thresholds and into vehicles with equal ease.
  3. Do I have assistance from a partner? If a caregiver is capable of helping you in and out of the house as needed, a portable ramp may suffice. However, if you live alone or if your caregiver isn’t physically capable of placing and removing a ramp as you come and go, a free-standing solution offers ease and peace of mind for both you and your partner.
  4. Is the surface safe? Rain and snow can create hazardous conditions for you or your caregiver as you’re propelled up a slope. A non-slip surface is a must for safety. Make sure your ramp’s design features either grooved surfaces or grip strips to provide traction as you go.
  5. How long should it be? A ramp that’s too short creates an incline that’s near impossibly to tackle. To check whether your selected ramp can cover your needs, take three measurements: the vertical rise from ground to threshold, the distance between the highest point and farthest and clearest point on your path, and the width of the desired location. Aim for a ramp incline ratio of 1:12 (one inch of height for every twelve inches of length.). Try the EZ-ACCESS Incline Calculator for an easy assessment.

Our professionals at EZ-ACCESS are trained and ready to walk you through the ramp selection process, whether it’s your first time or your fifth. Let us know how we can help!

 

Navigate Beaches With Ease This Spring Break

wheelchair beaches

After a winter of shaking and shivering, a spring getaway to warmer weather is an ideal way to unthaw. Although beaches offer the toasty temperatures you’ve been dreaming about, the sandy terrain might seem like a barrier between the promise of sun and your mobility device. EZ-ACCESS strives to help you find accessible options to seize each day, and we suggest the following fair-weather tips to squeeze the most out of your beachside spring break:

  • Research accessible beaches: More and more, beachy tourist destinations are revamping to accommodate mobility devices. Look for beaches that feature paved walking paths around the perimeter and boardwalks that extend into the sand from adjacent parking lots. Also, consider the set-up of restrooms and changing houses to ensure a smooth outing.
  • Look into beach wheelchairs: Sand and uneven ground creates a hassle when navigating your daily wheelchair around the beach. With oversized tires and breathable mesh seating, beach wheelchairs are designed to help you tackle the sand with ease. Check with your beach’s lifeguard station or your hotel’s concierge to see if they have a few for paid or free rental, or ask around at beachside storefronts.
  • Bring tarps: If a beach wheelchair isn’t an option, pack a few durable tarps or mats for your outing. When laid out, the barrier between sand and wheels creates a runway to get you from parking lot to sandy spot with less difficulty. Bringing two tarps allows you to station your chair on one surface while the other is placed in front of you, creating a rotation for an adjustable path.
  • Wear a floatation belt: When you want to cool off in the waves, your caregiver can give you a hand maneuvering from sitting in your chair to sitting in shallow waters. Wearing a flotation belt discreetly offers back support while you sit and a layer of safety in the event of tipping for those with weak muscle control.
  • Take advantage of nearby shops: Escaping out of the midday sun and into nearby shops is part of a successful day at the beach. Visit restaurants outside of peak meal hours to avoid the hubbub of tourists, and look for restaurants that offer sidewalk and other outdoor seating options to enjoy the breeze outside of hard-to-navigate indoor seating layouts.

As you travel, transporting your mobility chair doesn’t need to be a hassle. Our line of SUITCASE portable wheelchair ramps offer portable, lightweight solutions to rolling your mobility device in and out of your vehicle with ease so you can zip from the parking lot to the beach in no time. Questions? Let us know!

Taking Winter by Storm: Beating the Winter Blues

winter blues

Bears have it made. When the winds howl, drifts climb, and temperatures plummet, they can curl up in their cozy dens and snooze for a couple of months until winter passes. No such luck for you and your daily duties that force you to brave the season, as well as the possibility of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Beat the winter blues and make the most of this frigid time of year with a couple of pointers from EZ-ACCESS:

• Exercise: Fitness is key to keeping both physical and mental health top notch. The blast of endorphins from a moderate-intensity workout will give you a boost, and engaging in an activity you love will give you something to look forward to. Try a water jogging or aerobics class at your local gym, or drum up an at-home workout via Youtube to experiment with new genres of exercise.

  • Balance Your Diet: Although the chill may send you reaching for warm, heavy dishes and comfort carbs, fill out your plate with more variety. An overdose of processed foods will make your energy drag and moods swing all over the place. Experiment cooking with winter vegetables like winter squash, brussel sprouts, and parsnips to mix up your meals and add a dash of variety to your day.
  • Follow Through with Resolutions: If you made the annual New Year’s promise, stick with it. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals gives you something to work towards, renewing a sense of purpose on blustery days that make you feel blah.
  • Treat Yourself: Look at that, you’ve accomplished one of those resolutions? Celebrate! Whether it’s a weekend trip to explore a new city, a massage, a coffee outing with friends, or a skills class at your local library, finding ways to build yourself up when the weather’s trying to do the opposite is critical. Scheduling a fun activity a week or two in advance will build anticipation that makes the event even more satisfying.
  • Lean On Each Other: Don’t let the season box you into your home and away from those that can help perk you up. Your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers are feeling the winter burn just as sharply as you are, and they’ll be thrilled by a lunch date, quick phone chat, or surprise card in the mail.

If you’re worried winter may reduce your mobility, EZ-ACCESS has a number of ramps and mobility chair accessories to help keep you moving. Take a look through our online catalog to find the daily aids that will help you charge into the cold with head held high!

Foldable Accessibility: Choosing the Right Suitcase Ramp for You

suitcase ramp

Getting in and out of the snow is a hassle on its own, and adding a mobility chair to the mix can add serious chunks of travel time to your schedule. SUITCASE® series portable ramps helps streamline the transport process with lightweight, easy-to-assemble options to get you moving in no time.

We’ve broken down each SUITCASE® portable ramp to give you a look at the highlights and special features of this line’s wide offering:

Singlefold Ramp

Best for: Mobility chair users who need fast access in a variety of locations

Lengths: 2’ – 8’ options

Special features: A single-fold ramp hinge that makes set-up easy and fingers unpinched; durable handles for easy carry; slip-resistant tread to keep your mobility device rolling

Singlefold AS Ramp

Best for: Mobility chairs in need of extra traction

Lengths: 2’ – 6’ options

Special features: Applied slip-resistant surface; easily separates into two lightweight sections with the removal of two hinge pins; both attachments fitted with ergonomic, flexible handles; self-adjusting bottom transition plates adjust to the ground surface from portable ramp position

Singlefold GF (Graphite Fiber)

Best for: Caregivers who can carry limited weight

Lengths – 2.5’ – 7.5’ options

Special features: Lightest folding ramp in the industry starting at 8 lbs; glass reinforced graphite fiber provides impressive weight-bearing capacity of 660 lbs; single-fold hinge that runs full length of ramp for ensured stability and safety

Trifold AS Ramp

Best for: Raised landings, steps, larger vehicles, wider complex wheelchairs and mobility scooters

Lengths: 5’ – 10’ options

Special Features: Tri-fold portable ramp for easy setup and transportation; separates into two sections for easy carry; interlocking hinge reduces pinch points and ensures smoother operation.

The Singlefold, Singlefold AS, and Trifold AS ramp can be outfitted with an additional Top Lip Extension, which increases the transition plate from 3” to 9”, helping ramps avoid vehicle bumpers and providing increased surface area made of slip-resistant aluminum for durability and safety.

EZ-ACCESS strives to provide stability and independence to you and your loved ones with mobility options to improve each day, rain, snow or shine. Take a look at our online catalog and let us know how we can help!

How to Make Your Business Accessible for All in 2016

wheelchair accessible business

Whether non-profit or for, businesses that serve the public agree to serve all kinds of publics.  The ADA Guide for Small Businesses outlines a comprehensive list of requirements and accommodations to ensure every customer receives the same care and quality of service, disability notwithstanding. Below, EZ-ACCESS has highlighted just a few areas to double check to make sure your business is providing accessible services to all:

Accessible Parking

  • An access aisle of at least eight feet must be designated to van-accessible parking spaces marked by a sign with the international “van accessible” symbol. This provides plenty of room for mobility chairs and their operators to enter and exit a van with a side-mounted lift.
  • The number of total parking spaces dictates the number of accessible parking options. 25 total slots should have at least 1 accessible space, 50 total slots should have at least 2 accessible, etc. If you can only offer one slot, it must be van – not just car – accessible.
  • When possible, place accessible parking spots as close to handicap-accessible entrances as you can.

Accessible Entrances

  • If you have multiple entrances into your store, at least one must be accessible, and a sign should be provided to direct traffic to the alternative entrance.
  • The slope of ramps to accessible entrances must be no more than 1:12 (for every 12 units of horizontal length, there’s one unit of vertical rise). Handrails are required when the slope exceeds 1:20.
  • Edge protection is required when a ramp creates a drop-off on either side. A raised lip or low railing helps prevent mobility chairs from accidentally rolling off the surface.
  • In some cases, you just may not be able to provide accessible entrances that are “readily achievable” for your business (e.g. reasonable accommodations that can be added without excessive difficulty or expense). To compensate, you’re required to provide home delivery, take-out, curbside delivery, or another readily achievable option to make your services accessible.

Our work at EZ-ACCESS exists to help provide mobility and freedom for all. Our TITAN™ Code Compliant Modular Access System can enable your business to do just that through a reliable mix of ramps, platforms, and steps that meet ADA, IBC, and local code guidelines. If you have questions about this ramp or other accessibility options, give us a call at 800-451-1903.

Wheelchair Organization Made Easy

week1-blog

A jacket, an oxygen tank, a book or two, some snacks, your keys… when you’re out and about in your wheelchair, figuring out where and how to stash all your items can feel like it requires a background in engineering.

Fortunately, EZ-ACCESS wheelchair accessories take the hassle out of transport with a number of organizational options. Take a look at these storage aids to figure out which one suits you best:

  • Wheelchair Underneath Carrier: Discreet storage for a quick stow-and-go outing doesn’t get much easier. Awesome for magazines, keys, wallets, and other items, this large mesh canopy hides underneath wheelchairs with the help of a nifty hanging design. As an added layer of protection, front and back flaps keep your goods from bumping out of place and instead stay safely tucked where you want them.
  • Wheelchair Back: Don’t worry about juggling jackets, magazines, snacks, and keys when you’re heading out for a shopping day. The Wheelchair Back streamlines all your items into one easily-accessible carrier, attached to the back of the chair for quick reach for both you and your caretaker. With three staggered pouches made of durable nylon, you can eliminate bulk and stay organized when you stash your items into multi-leveled, separate pockets.
  • Wheelchair Pack: When you need serious storage, this multi-use product offers room for days. Looped over the back of the wheelchair, adjustable buckle straps allow you to create a custom length for easiest access from where you sit. Big items like books, packages, and laptops stay securely in the spacious main compartment thanks to the hook and loop closure to keep your goods snugly in place. Items like newspapers, water bottles, and phones can slide into elasticized mesh pockets on the side for quick deposit and removal. This pack also doubles as a tote, so you can take it from wheelchair to carrier in a matter of seconds.
  • Wheelchair Oxygen Carrier: With extra-long adjustable straps to accommodate any wheelchair, this oxygen carrier eliminates the hassle of portable oxygen therapy. The single carrier sports a durable, lightweight nylon, and the dual carrier’s lightweight vinyl mesh comes with an added storage pocket for nasal masks and other small items.

Which accessory is calling your name? Let our professionals at EZ-ACCESS know!

When It Comes to Your New Year’s Resolution – Be S.M.A.R.T.

new years resolutions

Every year, you start off so strong, exercising every day, avoiding caffeine like the plague or saving every extra penny to finally get out of debt, but over a matter of weeks, your fancy New Year’s resolution seems to drop off and you’re back to your old self again.  According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, you’re not alone – 1 in 3 resolution makers ditch their promise of the year before the first month is even up!

Well, this year is going to be different, and EZ-ACCESS will help.  Using these proven S.M.A.R.T. techniques, you will stick to your New Year’s Resolution, for at least the first few months – let’s be realistic!

  1. SPECIFIC – Don’t be flighty with your goal. Be clear and concise, assigning a direction, a date or a target for you to reach for. “I want to run a local 5K in the spring at an 8:30 pace” gives you a target to aim for that goes beyond a hopeful thought.
  2. MEASURABLE – Set mini goals to achieve along the way that lead to your overall goal. Don’t forget to determine your metrics or how you will assess that you’ve reached your milestones.  Identify concrete ways to assess your goal so you know if and when you’ve reached it.
  3. ATTAINABLE – Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t lose 50 pounds in a week. Make sure your goal is practical and within reach.  Make as much of an effort as you can, but don’t set yourself up for failure with a goal that’s actually impossible to meet.
  4. REALISTIC – Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you want to knit baby blankets for preemies in the NICU, could you knock out 30 in 30 days? Technically, probably, yes. However, how realistic is that goal when you factor in everything else on your plate? Don’t burn yourself out with a goal that pushes the boundaries of reason.
  5. TIME-BOUND – When life stressors appear, personal goals are the first thing to go. If you’ve given yourself concrete deadlines, however, skipping out on what you set out to do becomes much, much harder. Whether you follow a daily timeline or strive towards a date a few months down the road, a time-bound goal helps keep you on track and moving forward.

Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Choosing and meeting a goal gives you just a taste of all you’re capable of accomplishing. Let us know at EZ-ACCESS if there’s a goal we can help you conquer in 2016.

 

4 Snowy Ramp Must-Haves for 2016

snowy ramps

If you read last month’s blog, “Winter is coming. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Is your ramp ready?”, then you already know whether your region of the country is likely to be pummeled with snow or not.  If you are one of the unlucky ones and LOTS OF SNOW could be headed your way, preparations are in order, and EZ-ACCESS is here to help.  Use this list of must-haves as your guide to keep your aluminum ramp open for business.

Snowy Ramp Must-Haves:

  1. Ice Melt – This is a great item to have on hand in order to break up those thick chunks of ice that form right at the end of your roof overhang. If you happen to hate the white, chalky residue that Ice Melt leaves behind, we also recommend cat litter as a worthy alternative. For the best cat little, choose extra-coarse, non-clumping from your local hardware store.

Another great benefit of using cat litter to give you traction or slippery surfaces is that you can simply sweep it away in the spring!

  1. Broom – To reduce scratching or damaging your aluminum ramp, use a broom instead of a metal or plastic shovel. The hard bristle broom will be just as effective when clearing away light, fluffy snow.
  1. Welcome Mat – You may also want to consider an extra welcome mat to prevent you or your guests from tracking snow, Ice Melt or cat litter into your home.
  1. Slip Resistant Footwear – Finally, footwear is key. If you are on your feet at all, even with the help of a walking aid, you must wear proper footwear for winter weather.

Quoting the United State Postal Service creed, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleep, nor hail” shall keep you from using your EZ-ACCESS PATHWAY Modular Access System this winter.  Stay safe out there and be sure to contact us at EZ-ACCESS for any questions on the care and maintenance of your PATHWAY Modular Access System!