Clearing Slippery Ramps for Safe Wheelchair Access



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Clearing Your Slippery Ramps

For those who use a walker or a wheelchair and a ramp to enter and exit their home, ice and snow on your ramp can be troublesome. Here in Texas, ice and snow are only sometimes a long-term problem in winter for ramp owners. However, that’s not true for you who live in colder climates this time of year.

If you expect ice and snow in your area, it’s good to prepare to clear your ramp. A covered ramp is an advantage any time and won’t demand much maintenance in the winter during light precipitation if you are lucky enough to have one.

A shovel will be sufficient for an aluminum ramp with a ribbed surface to clear off a light dusting of snow. A shovel or a stiff broom for a wooden ramp will take care of that light snowfall.

But when icing occurs, it takes a little more preparation and effort to clear those slippery ramps.

Before it snows

Some chemicals can be used before it snows and ices to prevent ice and snow build-up on any ramp. One is Liquid Ice Preventer-22 by Amax Industries.

It must be used before snow and ice accumulate on a concrete or metal surface. Treatment of slippery ramps with Liquid Ice Preventer-2 can last as long as 14 days in very cold weather.

You can also prepare your wooden or metal ramp by applying a gritty, non-skid paint to the ramp surface to cause friction. This kind of paint is available at paint and hardware stores.

Making the surface rough can help cause enough traction to keep wheels and shoes from slipping on the ramp.

De-icing surfaces

Of course, some chemicals actually melt ice. One is Zero Ice – Ice & Snow Melter. It is a de-icer used in temperatures as low as 0- degrees Fahrenheit. It is also easy on the grass near the area. It doesn’t carpet and concrete surfaces.

Salt is the old standby as a de-icer, but its constant application can affect the surface of a metal ramp in the long term, and it could affect the soil or plants nearby. Salt can damage concrete, too, if used constantly. Salt only works to melt ice when the temperature of above 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ice-melting agents that contain magnesium chloride or calcium chloride are okay to use on metal or concrete, though they might leave a residue on surfaces.

Getting traction

Substances such as cat litter, sand, and ashes can give you some traction on slippery ramps. However, most people don’t like anyone tracking these substances indoors on shoes or wheels.

Making a temporary path

Let’s say you are visiting a place that does not prepare the sidewalks or parking lot for walker or wheelchair users. The property owner may not welcome you if you plan to dump a bag of cat litter there.

They might not want to clean it up later and might not like litter tracked in on the wheels or the shoes that come inside. What can you do to create a temporary safe path to the entrance of the building?

One possibility is to carry a stack of roofing shingles in your car’s trunk. With the gritty rough side of the shingle down on the slippery surface, make a path of shingles over the slippery ramp’s surface to the door.

The wheelchair and walker users can roll right over those slippery spots on top of the shingles. This method means lifting and bending frequently, which may not be easy for the caregiver, especially on slippery surfaces and out in the cold.

The shingles can be taken up and stored away when not in use.

It would be safer for visitors if the property owner got someone out there to shovel the sidewalk and clear the parking area. Why not call before you go to see if your wheelchair user can gain safe access to the building in snowy weather?

Removable ramps!

If you have chosen to use the E-Z Access skid-resistant ramps at your house, you will find minimal clean-up after a snowstorm.

Why? Because the ramps are removable! You can remove them and take them indoors whenever you expect a snowstorm.

With the Advantage Suitcase Ramp or the Tri-Fold Ramp, you can take up the ramp and fold it into two lightweight parts, each with a handle. Take it indoors during the snowstorm, and put it back outdoors when needed.

These are truly the most carefree ramps there are! If the ramp gets wet or accumulates snow outdoors, use a stiff broom to wipe off the skid-resistant surface. You can fold the ramp and store it in your garage or porch while it dries off.

Please stay safe and healthy this winter with a clear ramp at your house.