If you or a loved one are one of the many people who rely on a wheelchair to help with mobility issues, a vertical platform lift can be an invaluable tool for Aging In Place. Vertical Platform Lifts (VPLs) are usually installed outside or in a garage to help users gain accessibility to otherwise inaccessible homes. They are very easy to utilize: Roll onto the platform, the lift will bring you up flush to the level of the entryway, and then you’re able to simply roll off into the home.
While an aluminum ramp can also be a wonderful piece of mobility equipment, a vertical platform lift can solve the problem of circumstances when the ramp is not a possible solution. Sometimes there is not enough space for an aluminum modular ramp to be installed, while a VPL is able to be installed in a much smaller space. Also, if an individual or caregiver is unable to self-propel or push a wheelchair safely up a ramp, a VPL is the perfect alternative solution.
Are Vertical Platform Lifts Safe?
Yes, VPLs are very safe. There are safety measures built in to prevent users from rolling off the platform during travel up or down. The short access ramp folds up and becomes an enclosed wall during use. Standard lifts will allow for up to 6 feet of travel and each lift has a control panel that has an emergency stop switch. Custom lifts can be manufactured in only a couple weeks and can accommodate up to 14 FEET! To prevent unauthorized use, there is a key switch that controls the power to the unit. Without a key being used to turn the unit on, the lift will not work, keeping kids safe and preventing others from playing with the lift.
Other safety features are built-in to injury prevention. There is a safety pan under the lift that will automatically stop the lift if touched which prevents objects, kids, and pets from being crushed by the lift when it lowers.
Because we believe in safety first, we now install Self-latching Interlocking gates on every VPL in order to close of the drop off when the lift is on the lower level (when the user is in the community or downstairs).
Are Vertical Platform Lifts Weather Safe?
Yes, VPLs are made to be used in all weather conditions. The only thing to be aware of here in Rhode Island is snow buildup under the unit if it is left in its ‘up’ position. The safety panel will not allow the lift to lower if the snow is left there. To avoid this, simply ensure that the unit is lowered during storms in order to prevent snow buildup.
Also, in any adverse conditions, there are ‘call’ and ‘send’ switches installed at the top and bottom which are very helpful.
Is the Installation of a Vertical Platform Lift a Major Home Project?
Not at all as invasive as you may think. A four-inch deep concrete pad is poured in order to support the lift platform. If the lift is installed in a garage there is usually concrete already poured in the required space. The pad should be approximately 5-foot x 8-foot in order to support the lift and also to provide a smooth area for the wheelchair to roll onto. A slight slope to the pad can help to prevent water puddling if it is installed outside. This is important in the winter as freezing can cause lifting of the platform. In addition to concrete, there must be a GFI outlet within 5-9 feet from the tower of the platform. Our OHA technicians can provide the only additional site prep required including a smooth fascia up against the platform and any re-building/modifications required on applicable decks or stairway landings.
Oakley Home Access is here to answer any further questions and to find the best solutions for your needs. We offer free home safety assessments and bring our knowledge and expertise to you. If considering installing a vertical platform in your home, please feel free to visit our showroom to try one out at 322 South Pier Road Narragansett Rhode Island.