Platform lifts, also known as wheelchair lifts, are use […]
Platform lifts, also known as wheelchair lifts, are used to help disabled, or otherwise mobility challenged individuals live a more "normal' life. The lifts are used to lift wheelchairs into cars, vans as well as up short sets of stairs and for other activities as well. Vertical platform lifts are the most widely used model and in many cases, the cost to install one is covered by Medical Assistance programs or Medicare.
The platform lifts work as an elevator to safely lift those in wheelchairs, walkers and others who cannot climb stairs without help doing so, get to a second floor or over small steps where there is otherwise no way for them to do so. Cars and vans that are "wheelchair accessible" have this form of lift installed and they are powered by the vehicle's battery. The person in the wheel chair rolls onto the lift and the driver activates it to lift the person safely into the vehicle.
Additionally, newer buses used by Public transportation systems in major Metropolitan areas have installed wheelchair lifts as well. This helps make it easier for disabled passengers and others who have trouble stepping up into the bus, to ride public transportation. The benefits of the platform lifts in these situations include, again, the safety of the passenger. If a passenger was to attempt to step up into the bus and missed the step, or did not have enough strength to lift their body weight into the bus, the passenger could fall and become even more seriously injured.
While the safety of these people is the main benefit of the platform lift and its installation, many businesses, both public and private, have them installed to maintain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act includes the statement that all public places must remove barriers of which would prevent the disabled from entering. Additionally, both new and old, already existing public places and businesses must comply with the act to some extent.
This means steps and stairs in all businesses as well; however, because it can be quite costly to remove steps and replace them with elevators, or ramps that are wheelchair friendly, platform lifts are sometimes used instead. These lifts can cost between $2,000 and $10,000 to install, depending on the height to which they will lift, while removing and replacing steps and stairs could cost upwards of $20 thousand or more. The main benefits of the platform lift here is it keeps the business owners and the public places in compliance with the Act in addition to allowing more people the enjoyment of shopping at the business or visiting museums, theaters and other public places of which historically have been off limits to the disabled.