1 month, 1 week ago by Bob Gough
Winter is coming and it is important for everyone to think about preparedness and safety, especially persons with disabilities. Do you know what you would need if something unexpected happened away from home?
West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living (WCICIL) wants to remind everyone about the importance of being prepared for unexpected situations, but preparing in advance is even more critical for persons with disabilities. An emergency preparedness plan for someone with a disability must account for any special needs or assistive devices. For example, assistive mobility devices like electric wheelchairs and scooters. These power chairs don’t fold up and can weigh hundreds of pounds, and also cost thousands of dollars to replace. For someone who uses these devices it is necessary to make sure your preparedness plan gets both you and your assistive device home safely.
West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living can provide helpful tips on how to prepare for trips outside the home, do’s and don’t's to protect and extend the life of your assistive devices and safety tips for users.
“A power chair is a great resource for those with limited mobility. However, in order to use these devices to the fullest extent it requires learning how to properly operate the chair and to adequately prepare before leaving the home”, said WCICIL director Dan Stupavsky.
“Unfortunately we have instances where power chair users experience equipment failure outside the home rendering the chair inoperable. We at West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living can provide these individuals with suggestions on how to prevent this type of situation from occurring and how to handle it if it does.”
The number one cause for power chair failure is a dead battery. The best way to avoid becoming stranded due to a dead battery is to make sure you know your chair’s expected battery life and make sure you charge your battery for the entire recommended time. Before you leave your house always check the battery charge levels.
WCICIL recommends power chair users have an emergency kit with them at all times and should include cell phone, emergency contact list, list of charging stations and towing companies, power chair charger, flashlight, reflective stickers, plastic bag, and basic chair maintenance and repair information. It is important to individualize your kit based on your own needs. “We can’t prevent every instance of assistive device failure but we can help people do things to greatly reduce the chances by thinking ahead and having a plan”, said Stupavsky. “Our offices are open to anyone who would like our help to assemble their preparedness kit”.
WCICIL is a not-for-profit advocacy center dedicated to the empowerment of persons with disabilities to lead independent lives in their homes and in their communities, serving Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike and Schuyler counties.