Making a Facility More Accessible for People with Disabilities
Not all buildings, no matter how small, are completely accessible to persons who are physically disabled. Since there are a variety of disabilities that hinder persons from accessing buildings with multiple levels, one must first decide which disability to aid. Here are a few ways to make a building accessible to those with the most common physical disabilities.
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Walking disabilities – For individuals who are physically challenged to where they cannot ascend or descend a flight of stairs without assistance, some type of stair or wheelchair lift should be installed. If a person who cannot independently and safely navigate stairs attempts to do so without the aid of a lift, the results can be painful and costly. The difference between a stair lift and a wheelchair lift is simple; a wheelchair lift carriers the person, in his or her wheelchair, from one level to the next on a moving platform. A stair lift carries a non-wheelchair user from one level to the next via a chair that rides along the gutter of the staircase. If a single aid is desired, it must be noted that wheelchair lifts can only service those using a wheelchair, while stair lifts can service all person whether a wheelchair is needed or not. If a company decides to encourage wheelchair and non-wheelchair users to ride a stair lift, make sure a wheelchair is readily available at the top landing.
Visual or Auditory Disabilities – Don't be deceived; not all persons with physical disabilities rely on help from a wheelchair, walker, or cane. In fact, persons who are blind or deaf will be at a significant disadvantage when using a public elevator. In order to help persons who are blind and deaf operate an elevator, there a few things that can be done. First, make sure Braille plaques are located on the inside and outside of elevator cars. Second, make sure that all elevators in the building are ADA code complaint. ADA stands for American with Disabilities Act and was enacted to help the disabled better access public facilities. It is encouraged that all sections of the ADA be carefully examined before installing an office elevator. If all ADA codes are followed, the elevator will be able to safely transport all persons, whether disabled or not, to their intended destinations.
If a building is not suited to better serve persons with disabilities, dangerous and costly results may occur. It is for this reason every business and facility should follow ADA guidelines when installing an elevator, stair lifts, and wheelchair lifts.