Wheelchair ramps are vital for many disabled people to access the businesses and services that they need every day which makes it especially important that they are kept safe for use. During the winter wheelchair ramp safety can be much harder than usual with ice, snow and rain all resulting in slippery ramps that pose a real risk to users. If you have a wheelchair ramp on your premises whether it’s just at home or even your business, here’s how to improve wheelchair ramp safety in winter.
Get ahead of the game
Instead of just being reactive to winter conditions it can be much easier to keep your ramps safe if you’re preventative. Keep up to date with weather updates and look out for warnings of rain, ice and snow so that you can get prepared. You can cover your ramp at night or when it’s not in use to help protect against snow and ice, and there are products that you can buy to apply before bad weather to help protect against icy conditions. If it does snow, start clearing the snow right away and keep at it regularly.
It’s all about the surface
The surface of your ramp will have a huge impact on how it handles winter weather and what measures you should take to keep it safe. Wood and aluminium, for example, are notoriously slippery during wet and icy weather. If you’re looking at getting a ramp, then it’s always best to look for one with a special grippy surface to help protect against this type of weather. If you already have a ramp without a grippy surface, then some DIY stores sell rough or grippy surfaces that you can stick on to your ramp.
Be aware that most ramps with a sandpaper type grip shouldn’t be left out in wet weather as the rain can cause the grip surface to break up over time. Our temporary wheelchair ramps with a grippy surface are a great solution as you can use them quickly during wet weather and store them immediately after.
Add extra grip
You can also add some extra grip during winter weather with sand, ash and even cat litter which can all help to reduce slippery ice. Remember to stay preventative and stock up on these items in the run-up to winter and apply them when weather warnings hit.
Throughout the winter
Throughout winter you may want to keep your ramp safe after ice and snow weather. There are some products you can use to melt ice below freezing temperatures but double check they are safe to use on concrete, aluminium or wood depending on the material of your ramp. Just like sand, ash or cat litter you can use salt as an ongoing solution to provide grip on ice and reduce snow but remember that continual use of salt on aluminium can damage the metal.
The ideal solution
A temporary ramp is really the perfect solution for winter weather. As well as meaning you can get one with a grippy surface that can be used for short periods in rainy weather, it also means you can store them at night and when not in use to keep them out of snow and ice as much as possible. We offer a wide range of temporary wheelchair ramps both with and without grippy surfaces that are quick and easy to set-up, transport and store.
Helping wheelchair users stay safe
There are also things wheelchair users and their friends or family can do to help them stay safe this winter as rain, snow and ice all present dangers during the cold months. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Travel with someone instead of alone to help get in and out of vehicles and overcome various obstacles like icy pavements.
- Plan your route carefully and look at weather reports for warnings. Try to avoid going out in bad weather as much as possible and choose the safest route with the most accessibility when you need to go out.
- Stay on the lookout during your journey for potential hazards and dangers such as slippery ice on the pavement as well as puddles and other risks. Try to avoid these areas or reach out for help if unsure.
Stay safe this winter and remember to watch out for accessibility improvements whether you have a disability yourself, know someone or does or simply to help someone. If you have your own business make sure you make it accessible throughout the winter.