Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • International Wheelchair Day

    International Wheelchair Day is March 1st.

     

    The day was launched in 2008 by a man named Steve Wilkinson.

    ... and since then it has grown in popularity with countries across Africa and Asia taking part, as well as the UK, USA and Australia.

    About Steve Wilkinson

    Steve Wilkinson was born with Spina Bifida in 1953, and has used a wheelchair for most of his life, devotes his life to his mission to make the world more accessible for other wheelchair users and people with non-standard needs. In 2008, he took to Google to find out whether there was a national day to recognize the rights of wheelchair users and those with mobility issues – there wasn’t.

    The Aims of International Wheelchair Day:

    • To enable wheelchair users to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has in their lives.
    • To celebrate the great work of the many millions of people who provide wheelchairs, who provide support and care for wheelchair users and who make the World a better and more accessible place for people with mobility issues.
    • To acknowledge and react constructively to the fact there are many tens of millions of people in the World who need a wheelchair, but are unable to acquire one.

     

    On FB: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalWheelchairDay/

    http://www.transfermaster.com/blog/view-post/March-1-2013-Was-the-Sixth-Annual-International-Wheelchair-Day

    http://wheelchairsteve.com/international-wheelchair-day/

    http://kdsmartchair.com/blogs/news/42784195-inspirational-people-in-wheelchairs-to-follow-on-social-media

    http://enable-access.com/enable-access-blog/happy-international-wheelchair-day-how-are-you-celebrating

  • Disability Awareness: Polio

    When most people think about polio, they often think of an old-timey disease that no longer applies to them. However, did you know that polio does, in fact, still exist?

    Though cases of polio have decreased drastically over the last several decades (more than 99% since 1988), there are still two countries in the world that have never fully stopped the transmission of this disease. These countries are: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    What does this mean for U.S. citizens?

    As long as a child is infected with the polio virus, it puts children in all countries at risk of contracting the disease. This is because the polio virus can easily be imported into a polio-free country and can spread rapidly among those who haven’t yet received immunizations.

    The most terrifying part?

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), failure to completely eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases of polio each year, within 10 years, ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    by-CDC-Global-Health-flickr-cc

    What is Polio?

    Polio is a crippling, infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.

    The poliovirus spreads from person to person and affects a person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.

    Currently, there is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented. This is why it is so important to make sure that children are vaccinated at an early age.

    The CDC defines a person as “fully immunized” from polio if he/she has received a primary series of at least three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), or four doses of any combination of IPV and OPV.

    Children should be vaccinated with 4 doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) at the following ages:

    • A dose at 2 months
    • A dose at 4 months
    • A dose at 6-18 months
    • A booster dose at 4-6 years

    If you were vaccinated for polio as a child, you should not need an additional polio vaccine as an adult. However, if you are traveling to an area where there are cases of polio, or if you work in an environment (such as a lab) where you risk exposure to polio, you may need to get re-vaccinated.

    Symptoms of Polio

    girl with polio | image by RIBI Image LibraryMost people who contract polio show no visible symptoms at all. However, for some, symptoms may be flu-like and include:

    • Sore throat
    • Fever
    • Tiredness
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Stomach pain

    A small percentage of people with polio may display more serious symptoms, such as:

    • Paresthesia (pins and needles feeling in the legs)
    • Meningitis
    • Paralysis
    • Weakness in the limbs

    Of these symptoms, paralysis is of the greatest concern as it can lead to permanent disability or even death as the muscles needed to breathe may become paralyzed.

    How Polio is Transmitted

    As far as research is concerned, polio only affects humans and is extremely contagious. Most often, polio is transmitted via human-to-human contact.

    The disease enters the body through the mouth and can be spread by coming into contact with fecal matter, or through sneezing and coughing. Even if you don’t have polio symptoms, you can still spread the virus to other people just before you get polio as well as up to two weeks after you become symptomatic.

    Polio in the United States

    Since 1979, there have been zero reported cases of polio originating from the United States. However, polio has been brought into the U.S. from people who have traveled outside of the country.

    The last documented case of polio being brought in from a traveler was in 1993.

    Increasing Mobility for Polio Users

    Like many disease that have potentially debilitating side effects, such as paralysis, physical restrictions, muscle weakness, and more - our goal at Van Products is to make it easier for people who have limited mobility to get around a little easier in their day-to-day lives. We do this by providing quality handicap vans and mobility products and accessories. For more information about any of the mobility items we sell, contact us today by calling: (800) 209-6133 or (919) 238-4597.

  • Tips for Buying a Wheelchair Van or Handicap Vehicle

    Buying a vehicle is a major financial decision for most people. Now throw in the fact that you are buying a wheelchair van or other handicap vehicle. You may have double the amount of questions, or you may need to double check on certain factors before making a final purchase decision.

    Below, we dive into some of the questions buyers face as well as other things to keep in mind.

    2016-chrysler-town-country-wheelchair-van

    Buying a Pre-Owned or Used Wheelchair Van

    In the market to buy a new or used wheelchair van? Ask yourself the following questions first:

    Will the new or used wheelchair van be driven by you or another driver?

    If you're buying a handicap accessible van for yourself, that's one thing. However, if you know for a fact that other non-handicapped drivers will be operating your wheelchair van, it is important to make a note of this and let our mobility specialists know. This could make a difference in how the handicap van is configured.

    What are the dimensions of the handicap van?

    More importantly, what sort of handicap equipment do you have and/or will be using in your handicap van? Depending on how much handicap equipment and the type of handicap equipment you have, you'll want to make sure that you can comfortably fit inside of your new or used handicap van.

    Dimensions also matter when thinking through things such as whether to purchase a rear-entry wheelchair van versus a side-entry wheelchair van.

    Who will be riding in the handicap van?

    Do you have a big family? A lot of friends? Perhaps you have children who need to be transported to and from after school activities. Whatever the reason, you'll want to have an idea of how you would use your new or used handicap van on a daily basis. This is important because you want to be able to comfortably fit whoever is riding with you inside of your vehicle.

    Will the wheelchair van be used for local driving only or possible long distance trips?

    How do you plan on using your wheelchair van? Depending on your driving habits and style, you may find that you're better suited to a new wheelchair van that has little to no miles on it. Alternately, if you tend to stay local and don't drive around that often, a pre-owned wheelchair van with a few extra miles on it may be a better fit.

    Are there any key features that you absolutely have to have?

    Each person's physical disability is unique. Therefore, the mobility products and van configuration may also need to be customized. At Van Products, we can customize your wheelchair van to suit your specific mobility needs. We invite you to speak to one of our mobility specialists today.

    What is the budget?

    One of the most important things to not overlook is how much your budget is. Our mobility specialists can work with you to provide financial assistance with your new or used wheelchair van purchase.

    Ask Questions; Test it Out

    Never be afraid to ask questions when it comes to purchasing a handicap vehicle. That's why our mobility specialists are here! We are happy to walk you through the entire process of financing a wheelchair van.

    Contact us today by giving us a call at: (800) 209-6133 or (919) 238-4597. We look forward to speaking with you!

     

  • How Adaptive Equipment Helps People with Spinal Cord Injuries

    Most people go about their day without so much as a second thought in their minds as to how they will physically get around. Instead, they just hop in the car, jump on a bicycle, or take another form of mass transit. However, for those who have a physical disability, suddenly, you have to consider things that you never considered before.

    FACT: In 2016, there were approximately 282,000 people who were estimated to have a spinal cord injury. [source]

    Something as simple as operating a motor vehicle, cooking, doing household chores or even picking up your children for a hug - can all present a challenge where none previously existed. For this reason (and others), we proudly offer a variety of mobility products and adaptive equipment to help those with spinal cord injuries (as well as other physical disabilities) move around a little easier.

    by-shawncampbell-flickr-cc

    Mobility Equipment by Van Products

    Adaptive equipment comes in varying forms. From driverless cars and adaptive cruise control technology to equipment that can help a physically disabled person take a bath - there is no doubt that this type of specialized equipment is enhancing people’s ability to function in their environment.

    Van Products offers a variety of mobility products to help spinal cord injury patients (as well as other people faced with physical disabilities) more freedom of mobility to move around their home, place of business, or otherwise.

    Some of the mobility products we offer include:

    We know how important it is to be able to move around independently, which is why we only sell the best mobility products from top brands that you can trust.

    Helping Those With Spinal Cord Injuries

    The National Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Statistical Center reports that the annual incidence of SCI is approximately 54 cases per million in the United States or roughly 17,000 new SCI cases each year. People with spinal cord injuries benefit greatly from the use of adaptive equipment because of its ability to improve the quality of their lives.

    Because many people with spinal cord injuries suffer from complete loss of mobility or partial mobility, the use of adaptive equipment has become that much more important - especially when it has been customized to the unique mobility issue faced by that person.

    Part of this growing market of adaptive equipment is the use of handicap/wheelchair vans. According to Disabled-World.com:

    In recent years, technological advances have introduced automotive adaptive devices which either reduce the physical effort required to control and/or operate a vehicle or alter the way in which driver control initiatives are applied to the vehicle control systems. These adaptive devices provide the possibility of driving a vehicle for many drivers with disabilities.

    To learn more about spinal cord injuries, check out this spinal cord injury article by the Mayo Clinic. Live in the Raleigh, NC area? You can also get involved at the local level by visiting the North Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association (NCSIA).

  • Tips for Safer Driving

    by Rick Obst flickr ccAccording to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),

    Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

    At Van Products, we are all too aware of the threat that distracted driving poses to the safety of not only the driver but also the passengers and other motorists on the road - especially when it comes to our handicapped vehicles.

    This is why we work hard to provide all of the custom options you need, such as backup cameras, rain sensing wipers, and more - to help you navigate the roads more safely.

    3 Types of Distraction

    Before talking about the dangers of driving distracted and how to avoid it, it's worth mentioning that there are three main types of 'distraction' that distracted driving falls under. These include the following:

    #1 - Visual: Taking your eyes off of the road

    #2 - Manual: Taking your hands off of the wheel

    #3 - Cognitive: Taking your mind off of driving

    Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

    #1 - Turn the phone off.

    Cell phones are the leading form of distraction while driving, and many states have banned the use of hand-held cell phones entirely.

    If you know that your cell phone is a distraction, switch your phone off before starting your car up. You may also consider turning the phone to silent mode and/or storing it out of sight/reach.

    You should only use your cell phone during emergency situations.

    #2 - Get plenty of rest.

    Another major hazard relates to sleep. Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than you’d think, and it can happen both at night as well as during the day.

    Drivers who are overtired are not as alert and may make careless and sometimes dangerous or deadly mistakes in judgment. Lack of sleep affects your reaction time, and many law enforcement officials draw comparisons of sleep deprived drivers to drunk drivers.

    If you find that you are tired while driving, get off of the road. If you’re traveling on a long road trip, stop frequently so that you can get out of the car and stretch. Try traveling with a buddy, or (if you have to), pull off into a safe area and take a nap.

    #3 - Avoid eating while driving.

    Did you know that spilling food is a major cause of distraction among drivers? Make time for breakfast or lunch from a stationary spot. If you absolutely have to eat in your car. Park your car and then eat.

    Keep in mind that when you are eating while driving, your attention is diverted (as is your hand(s), making you less attentive to other drivers around you.

    #4 - Avoid multi-tasking.

    Contrary to popular belief, most people are NOT multi-taskers. Keep important items that you may need (ex: GPS, cash) within easy reach before you drive away. This will avoid you having to search for items while driving. Keep your vehicle organized, and it will save you a world of trouble later.

    #5 - Avoid driving with too many passengers.

    You can’t always avoid having more than one person in your vehicle. Where and when you can, avoid shuttling around more people than you can manage. Keep in mind that the more people you have in your car, the more distracting it will be.

    Instead, avoid taking on multiple passengers at a time if you can help it. Instead, try embracing a little quiet time behind the wheel.

  • Commercial Transit Vehicles at Van Products

    Ford E250 Extended VanVan Products is proud to sell a line of commercial transit vehicles, completely upfitted to accommodate those who are wheelchair bound or who have mobility issues.

    Featuring multiple wheelchair securement locations and a variety of seating options, our commercial transit vehicles provide more options than ever for those who are faced with mobility challenges. Read more about our wheelchair van conversion features, specially designed for commercial transit vehicles.

    Commercial Transit to Satisfy Your Needs

    Everyone's transportation needs are different - especially when it involves mobility. At Van Products, our customers trust us to provide commercial transit solutions that meet their unique mobility needs. Currently, our leading commercial transit vehicle is the Ford E250 Extended Van.

    Some of the features of this van include:

    • Raised top with raised rear doors
    • Braun L919 wheelchair lift in rear
    • One piece fiberglass interior walls
    • FMVSS certified roll cage and insulation in double-wall raised top
    • Additional seating
    • And more

    Customizable Floorplans with You in Mind

    Whether you are a company that provides transportation for those with mobility challenges, or you are an individual with a wheelchair - Van Products mobility specialists will work with you to review all of the mobility options available. Your safety, comfort, and accessibility are our biggest concerns, which is why we offer flexible floor plans with multiple configurations, using seating and wheelchair securement floor tracks for maximum flexibility.

    When it comes to your safety and the safety of other passenger in your vehicle, we never make compromises. Before we even consider selling you a commercial transit vehicle, we put all of our vehicles through an extensive certification testing that fully complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Working Harder to Serve those with Wheelchairs

    Since 1972, Van Products has customized commercial transit vehicles to fit the unique mobility needs of physically challenged people throughout the United States. As an authorized dealer of BraunAbility products, we only sell the best commercial transit vehicles and upfits that the industry has to offer.

    Try It Out Yourself!

    We are well aware of the unique challenges that each of our customers (and their families) face when selecting a handicap vehicle. Commercial transit vehicles are no different. Companies (and some individuals) must select a commercial transit vehicle that meets the mobility needs of multiple people.

    Our mobility specialists take all of this into consideration when you speak with them. From there, we'll help you design and build a wheelchair accessible, commercial transit vehicle that is safe, secure, and meets the individual mobility needs of its passengers.

    Contact our mobility specialists today to find out more about the commercial transit vehicles that we offer, or schedule an onsite wheelchair van demonstration.

  • Safety While Driving - Knowing When it's Time to Turn in the Keys

    Being handicapped doesn't prohibit you from driving safely. In fact, one of the biggest risks to driving safely revolve around drug/alcohol impairment and age. Below, we take a look at some of the key signs to look out for, indicating that it may be time to turn in the car keys.

    by-Epicantus-flickr-cc

    5 Signs It May be Time to Give Up Driving

    #1 - You have difficulty seeing and/or hearing.

    As most people age, their vision naturally diminishes, making it more difficult to spot things in the distance or even throwing off their depth perception. Similarly, many people experience increased difficult in hearing. Not being able to hear properly is extremely dangerous as it makes it difficult (or impossible) to recognize important warning/safety signs, such as horns, sirens, or even screeching tires.

    #2 - Your reflexes aren't what they used to be.

    As you age, you may notice that your reflexes are a lot slower than what they used to be. This can pose a real danger to you as well as other motorists and passersby. While driving, you rely on quick reflexes to react to potential hazards. Not reacting quickly enough may result in an increased chance of getting involved in an accident.

    #3 - Medications

    Always check with your healthcare provider to be sure that the medications you are taking are ok to be taken while operating a motor vehicle. Many medications impair your ability to drive.

    #4 - Joint pain

    Chronic joint pain in your neck, hands, or knees can make it difficult to do a number of required safety actions, such as: check your side and rearview mirrors, turn your head to check a blind spot when changing lanes, or even reach the gas and brake pedals properly. Should and hand problems can make it difficult to steer and/or shift the gears in your vehicle.

    #5 - Mental changes

    While dementia isn't only limited to the elderly, it is still something worth noting as it affects mostly elderly people. If you experience any changes in your mental wellbeing, such as forgetting how to get home, or frequently getting lost or forgetting how to navigate to places that you once knew how to get to - it may be time for a checkup with your doctor.

    Remember that even with all of the technological advances (such as backup cameras, sensors, lane assist technology, and more), driving is a privilege -not a right.

    It is your responsibility as a United States citizen to consider not just the health and welfare of yourself, but also the welfare of those around you. Pay attention to the advice given to you from your healthcare providers as well as any observations made by family and friends. Most importantly, be honest with yourself to know when it's time to turn the keys in for the last time.

  • Bruno Curved Stairlift Protects Against Falls

    The Bruno Curved Stairlift is helping protect people from accidents and falls around their home. During the winter time, one of the top injuries that is reported at hospitals involve people falling.

    More often than not, falls occur during the winter due to ice and snow or other winter weather. However, falls also become a major concern as we age. If you have aging parents or relatives or know people who have limited mobility, it is worth speaking to the mobility specialists at Van Products about the Bruno Curved Stairlift.

    Benefits of the Bruno Curved Stairlift

    The Bruno Curved Stairlift offers unparalleled support for people who are faced with mobility challenges.

    Some of the features include:

    • Stability while traveling up or down stairways - – even during power outages
    • Optional Wrap-around “park” positions (ideal for narrow stairways)
    • Options to mount the stairlift on either side of the staircase
    • And more

    Mobility In & Around Your Home

    Your home should be a safe haven - a place where you feel comfortable moving around. You shouldn't have to let your mobility challenges get in the way of leading an independent life. Having the Bruno Stairlift not only prevents falls from occurring - it makes it easier for you to move around your home.

    5 Ways to Prevent Injury from Falls

    Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. The Mayo Clinic gives some great tips for preventing injury from falls. We've included some of these tips below:

    #1 - Check in with your doctor.

    Keep a close watch on any medications you are taking that could impair your mobility, and make note of any changes in medication.

    If you’ve fallen before, write down the details at the time it happens, and be prepared to let your doctor or caregiver know.

    #2- Stay active!

    Physical activity can go a long way to prevent accidental falls. Stay hydrated, and with your doctor’s permission, engage in age-appropriate activities and exercises that work to improve and strengthen your balance, coordination and flexibility.

    The worse thing you can do is be sedentary!

    #3 - Wear proper shoes.

    If falling is a concern, consider the shoes on your feet. Women should avoid high heels (or switch to a lower heel). Avoid slippery-soled shoes and walking around in stocking feet. Also beware of flip flops or other types of footwear that can easily get caught up on surfaces or cause you to trip.

    #4 - Remove potential hazards from your home.

    Believe it or not, your own home can pose a threat to you falling! Remove any unnecessary clutter, such as boxes, phone and electrical cords and loose rugs. If you spill a liquid or food, immediately clean up the spill to avoid slipping.

    #5 - Check the lighting.

    Having a well-lit area can make it easier to see where you are going and avoid falling. Invest in night lights that are strategically placed in your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways. Place lamps within reach of your bed in case you have to get up in the middle of the night, and store flashlights in easy-to-remember places in the event of a power outage.

    View the Bruno Curved Stairlift in Action

    View an example of the Bruno Curved Stairlift below:

  • Protecting Yourself During a Vehicle Fire

    Like most people who spend a considerable amount of time in their vehicles - either driving to and from work, picking kids up from school - or even running your business out of your vehicle (ex: plumbers, carpenters, etc.), you should always make sure that your vehicle is packed with an emergency kit.

    Another thing that you should consider keeping in your vehicle is a fire extinguisher. However, just as there are different types of fires, so should you select a fire extinguisher that is most appropriate for your vehicle.

    What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best-Suited for a Car?

    Most vehicles have the same types of fire hazards in common:

    • Gasoline
    • Electrical Components
    • Oil
    • Fabric (upholstery)

    The type of fire extinguisher you keep in your vehicle should be able to handle a fire involving any or all of these components. So, what kind of fire extinguisher is best for a vehicle?

    View the different types of fire extinguishers and the types/classes of fires they extinguish.

    When it comes to your vehicle, dry powder fire extinguishers are the best choice for a vehicle.

    WHY?

    The fire repellent contained inside of these types of fire extinguishers consists of a dry powder and are rated for use on any A, B and C or E class of fire. It will effectively extinguish fuel and electrical related fires, as well as fires involving upholstery and wood products.

    fire extinguisher by SmartSignBrooklyn on flickr cc

    Benefits/Uses of Fire Extinguishers in Vehicles

    #1 - Engine Fires

    Did you know that engine fires area actually considered electrical fires? Therefore, the type of fire extinguisher needed will be different than a fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish a chemical fire or wood-burning fire.

    You will need a fire extinguisher that is specifically designed for vehicles that will be able to put out the fire as well as prevent any further damage.

    #2 - Other Types of Fires Within Your Vehicle

    If you are one of many people who uses their commercial vehicle for business purposes, you may need to have different types of fire extinguishers professionally installed in your vehicle. For example, if your business deals with the transportation of chemical materials, you may need to have two separate fire extinguishers - one that is designed to extinguish chemical fires, and one that is designed to extinguish electrical fires.

    Always check first before carrying a fire extinguisher. If you are unsure, ask a professional which type(s) of fire extinguisher(s) you need to have in your vehicle.

    #3 - Help in the Event of an Auto Accident

    It’s not all that unusual to see or experience a vehicle fire in the event of an auto collision. This is mostly due to the fact that gas and oil combine with friction, sparking dangerous fires.

    Having a fire extinguisher can help buy time for you or for someone else to escape from your vehicle or potentially prevent a fire from becoming worse.

  • Volunteer to Help People with Physical Disabilities in 2017!

    This 2017, why not use your professional skills, expertise, or time to help those with physical disabilities. To help you get started, we're providing some great resources for volunteering.

    Have a volunteer story about how you made a positive impact in the life of someone with a physical disability? Let us know!

    by le vent le cri on flickr cc

    Ways to Give Back to the Physically Disabled

    Volunteers of America

    Enter your zip code to find local offices in your area that need volunteers. Needs range from supportive living services to in-home support services (assistance with personal care, money management, etc.) to specialized services (nursing care).

    Help from  Home

    Are you physically disabled or less abled to participate in traditional volunteer opportunities? Help from Home allows volunteers to give back within the confines of their own physical limitations.

    Activate Good

    Find volunteer opportunities in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina - both suited for those with physical disabilities to volunteer or for those who wish to volunteer to help those with physical disabilities.

    Volunteer Abroad

    Take your love for volunteering to another level by volunteering outside of the USA. This program is especially geared at empowering those with disabilities to volunteer.

    Service Leader.org

    This site provides valuable information and suggestions for working successfully with volunteers who have disabilities - from ensuring that you provide adequate accommodations to conversations.

    Go Overseas

    This program is focused on disabled care volunteer abroad programs that benefit children and teenagers with physical/mental disabilities.

    Network for Good

    Network for Good offers a number of ways to help people with disabilities. Search for volunteer opportunities with organizations close to your home.

    VolunteerMatch.org

    Find great nonprofit causes close to home that benefit those with physical disabilities. Simply begin by typing in your city and state.

    For more information about new or certified pre-owned wheelchair vans, contact Van Products today: 1-800-209-6133.

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