Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • The Importance of High Quality Automotive Lighting

    If you have a workshop on wheels, then you know how important automotive lighting is. From utility companies to tree removal services to roofing repair work, plumbing and construction  - work is unpredictable, and you could be faced with a work emergency that calls you out during the day or night.

    This is why it's important to have reliable automotive lighting that you can count on. At Van Products, we offer one of the largest inventories in the area for commercial vehicle upfits, including automotive lighting accessories and more. Contact Van Products today to speak with one of our commercial upfit specialists about outfitting your commercial vehicle or vehicle fleet with lights that make you work smarter - not harder!

    Benefits of Automotive Lighting

    When you have bulky, expensive equipment, tools, or accessories, it's important to make sure your commercial vehicle is outfitted with the right equipment. Depending on the industry you're in and the type of work you're engage with, our specialists can help you select the best type of automotive lighting for your commercial vehicle or vehicle fleet. Below are just some of the benefits of selecting quality automotive lighting:

    1. Better visibility
    2. Ease of use
    3. Safety
    4. Utility
    5. Style/Aesthetics
    6. Value

    At Van Products, we only offer our customers the best that the industry has to offer. Take a look at the following video for Golight, and see how this automotive lighting is helping utility workers work smarter and safer.

    Work Smarter; Work Safer

    When you choose high quality automotive lighting for your commercial vehicle, you are also choosing to work safer and smarter. Automotive lighting can help you avoid making costly mistakes in your work, and it can also protect you and others around you by improving what you can see as well as who can see you.

    From emergency responder vehicles to utility vehicles, we're here to help. Speak to one of our team members today about a customized commercial vehicle upfit for automotive lighting!

  • Resources in Georgia for Physically Disabled Persons

    Van Products serves physically disabled customers throughout the state of Georgia. Our team of professionals know what it is like to go through buying a new vehicle - especially one that is outfitted for a wheelchair or scooter.

    As one of the leaders in buying or purchasing a handicap wheelchair van in Georgia, we are equally proud to offer additional resources for physically disabled persons and their families. Read below.

    Van Products side entry handicap van

    Resources in Georgia for Physically Disabled Persons

    Below, we've compiled a list of information related to physical disabilities and getting around the area. For additional information on handicap vans in Georgia or to

    Georgia Department of Community Health’s (DCH) Division of Medical Assistance’s Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment (SOURCE)

    What They Do:

    • a State Plan enhanced primary care case management program serving beneficiaries with chronic health conditions, including people with disabilities and frail elderly, to improve their health outcomes by linking primary medical care with home and community-based services.

    Contact Info:

    2 Peachtree Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 657-7211 website


    Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging Services (DAS)

    What They Do:

    • Administers a statewide system of services for senior citizens, their families and caregivers through the Area Agencies on Aging.
    • Services include: care coordination, chore services, emergency response system, friendly visiting, alternative living services, home modification and repair & more.

    Contact Info:

    Two Peachtree Street, NW Suite 9385 Atlanta, GA 30303-3142 (404) 657-5258 Toll-free: 1-866-55-AGING or 1-866-552-4464 website


    Georgia Department of Labor’s Rehabilitation Services

    What They Do:

    • Strives to help people with disabilities become productive members of society by achieving independence and meaningful employment.

    Contact Info:

    Suite 510 Sussex Place 148 Andrew Young International Boulevard, NE Atlanta, GA 30303-1751 (404) 232-3910 website


    FOCUS

    What They Do:

    • Offers comfort, hope, and fun to families with children who are medically fragile or have significant developmental or physical disabilities through a variety of programs.

    Contact Info:

    website


    BlazeSports America (U.S. Disabled Athletes Fund)

    What They Do:

    • Provides all children and adults with physical disabilities the chance to play sports and live healthy, active lives.

    Contact Info:

    280 Interstate North Circle Suite 450 Atlanta, Georgia 30339 Phone 1: 770-850-8199 Fax: 770-850-8179 Email: blazesports@blazesports.com website


    Fun Facts About Georgia

    Finally, we're including some fun and interesting facts about Georgia.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    • Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River.
    • Georgia has 159 counties, more than any other state east of the Mississippi.
    • Georgia is known as the Peach State, but it's also the country's top producer of pecans, peanuts, and vidalia onions.
    • The Georgia Colony was the last of the 13 original colonies to be established.
    • The Georgia Colony was named after King George II of England.
    • Wesleyan College in Macon was the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women.

    Contact Van Products Today!

    For additional information about buying or purchasing a wheelchair van in Georgia, contact Van Products at:

    (800) 209-6133 (919) 238-4597

  • 6 Tips to Winterize Your Wheelchair Van

    According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 70% of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, areas that receive an average of five inches or more of snowfall each year.

    Below, we’re offering our disabled drivers several helpful tips to get their handicap accessible vehicles ready for the pending winter weather.

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    Tips to Prep Your Wheelchair Van for Winter

    #1 - Maintain Regular Service Appointments.

    Don’t wait until the first major snow fall. Contact Van Products to make a service appointment to ensure that all of your mobility equipment is up to date and working as it should.

    You’ll also want to make sure you make an appointment with your local auto shop for any oil changes, tire services and fluid top offs.

    #2 - Take It Slow.

    Keep in mind that many wheelchair accessible vehicles have lowered floors, meaning that you have less ground clearance than other vehicles.

    If there is snow or ice on the ground, you’ll want to drive even slower than usual to be on the safe side.

    #3 - Scrape Your Vehicle & De-Ice Before Driving in Snow.

    All drivers alike should take care to scrape off their car and de-ice before taking the wheel in snowy weather. This is especially important if you are a wheelchair user as you’ll want to have full visibility while driving.

    There are many affordable de-icer sprays available on the market that can save you a significant amount of time and hassle - especially if you have a physical disability or other type of mobility challenge.

    #4 - Pay Attention to Your Tires.

    Part of prepping your handicapped van for the winter weather ahead includes considering whether or not it may be necessary to swap out your tires for snow tires.

    Unlike all-season tires, snow “winter” tires are typically characterized by a deeper tread and are made of special rubber compounds that stay pliable in cold weather, allowing them to have a better grip on cold surfaces. This improves your ability to brake in extremely cold conditions.


    *A Word About 4-Wheel-Drive (4WD) & All Wheel Drive (AWD)

    Never assume that just because you have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle that you’re safe to drive on wintery roads. WRONG. Remember that 4WD and AWD improves traction by distributing power to all four of your wheels when you accelerate (versus two wheels).

    Once you go to apply your brakes, however, all bets are off. Your tires are what matter, which is why it makes a difference the type of tires you have on your vehicle.


    So, how do you know whether you should install snow/winter tires on your handicapped van? A large part of this decision will depend on two main factors:

    1. Where you live
    2. How much you drive

    For example, someone who owns a wheelchair van in Florida during the winter will likely never have to worry about putting snow tires on their vehicle. Meanwhile, someone who lives in Minnesota might have to switch out their tires seasonally.

    #5 - Keep Ramps Clear.

    One of the biggest afterthoughts in winterizing handicap accessible vehicles is ensuring that the ramps are kept clear of any debris.

    During the winter, it’s not uncommon to experience difficulties with handicap ramps getting jammed or stuck due to frozen weather.

    While you may not always be able to prevent ramp jams, you can still do your part to ensure that your vehicle’s ramp is clear of debris, such as leaves, dirt, snow, or ice.

    #6 - Have An Emergency Kit Handy.

    Regardless of the season, it is always a smart idea to have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

    One option is to swap out emergency kits by season. A winter emergency kit may have items, such as: hand/feet warmers, extra socks/shoes, an ice scraper, shovel, kitty litter/sand (in case you get stuck in snow), etc.

    Contact Van Products

    For additional about mobility products and accessories, new or used handicap vans - contact Van Products today!

    (800) 209-6133 (919) 238-4597

  • Checklist for Making Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

    The ADA is the most comprehensive federal civil rights statute protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

    While ADA guidelines do not extend to private, residential homes, these guidelines are still helpful and good to keep in mind - especially when you are trying to make your home wheelchair accessible.

    Below, we’ve put together a brief checklist, based on ADA guidelines. For additional information on making your home more wheelchair accessible, we encourage you to contact our mobility specialists.

    by-karen

    KITCHEN

    • Doorway width of at least 32"
    • Counters no more than 34" in height, or a pull out board of that height
    • Lever hardware and faucet controls
    • Refrigerator/freezer of side-by-side style
    • Range controls in front or side

    BATHROOMS

    • Sink should have at least 29" of clearance under the front edge to allow wheelchair user to pull under the sink and use the faucet.
    • Toilet seat should be between 17" and 19" inches above the floor.
    • Should be enough room for a wheelchair user to turn around (either in a 60" diameter circle or in a T-shaped turn).

    HALLWAYS/DOORS

    • Is the doorway leading to accessible spaces at least 32" wide?
    • Be sure hallways are free of steps or abrupt vertical changes over 1/4".
    • Be sure that at least one door to each accessible space has door hardware (levers, pulls, panic bars, etc.) usable with one hand.

    BEDROOMS

    • Allow at least a 36"-wide route on each side of the bed and at the foot of the bed to allow people who use wheelchairs to transfer onto the bed from either side.
    • Make sure all bedroom doors have security latches or bolts mounted no higher than 48" above the floor so it is within the reach of people who use wheelchairs.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    • According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the average adult wheelchair, can be up to 50 inches long and up to 32 inches wide.
    • There are different types of wheelchairs for different uses. Wheelchairs made for sport have a slightly lower seat and are wider than the average wheelchair.
    • The adult wheelchair requires 60 inches of space to make a 360-degree turn.
  • Van Products: Your Trusted BraunAbility Dealer

    When it comes to purchasing a wheelchair accessible van, Van Products knows that there is more to it than just selling a handicap van. Instead, our team of mobility specialists also strives to educate each of our customers, letting them know what their options are and providing the resources and support they need before, during, and after the sale.

    Partnering with a Dealership That Puts You First

    Our customers are at the forefront of everything that we do - from offering in-home demonstrations to scheduling appointments to offering personalized mobility options and more. Therefore, when it's time to make the decision to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle, we want you to feel comfortable partnering with a wheelchair van dealership that will be with you long after that initial transaction has taken place.

    At Van Products, Inc. we have an experienced and knowledgeable staff that is always available to answer any questions you may have in order to help you make the best choice to suit your specific mobility needs.

    A Reputation for Quality & Safety

    Van Products offers 24-hour emergency service, along with our guarantee that you will never be left alone in the event of an emergency. Our experienced service department has all the tools and resources necessary to get you back on the road in no time.

    As your trusted BraunAbility dealer, we understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mobility. Our team will work side-by-side with you to find the an accessible vehicle for you and your family that best suits your unique mobility needs. Perhaps most importantly, we provide the service support that you need should anything come up. For more information, about being a BraunAbility dealer, view the video below.

    Interested in speaking with one of our mobility specialists or stopping by one of our showrooms? Contact us here.

  • Breaking Barriers for Disabled Females Around the World

    Recently, Aleksandra Chichikova, from Belarus, was announced as the winner of the Miss Wheelchair World.

    The increasingly popular wheelchair beauty pageant was held on October 8, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland.

    Other notable winners included:

    • I Vice Miss Wheelchair World 2017 – Lebohang Monyatsi (the Republic of South Africa)
    • II Vice Miss Wheelchair World 2017 – Adrianna Zawadzińska (Poland)
    • Miss Individuality 2017 – Oksana Kononets (Ukraine)
    • Miss Smile 2017 – Nadjet Meskine (France)
    • Miss Activity 2017 – María Díaz (Chile)
    • Miss Charm 2017 – Adrianna Zawadzińska (Poland)
    • Miss Miss Kindness 2017 – Vahen King (Canada)
    • Miss Lifestyle Designers 2017 – María Díaz (Chile)
    • Miss Foto 2017 – Adrianna Zawadzińska (Poland)
    • Miss Popularity 2017 – Rajalakshmi Shankar Janardhana Murthy (India)

    About Miss Wheelchair World

    Miss Wheelchair World is a project that was created with the goal of changing the image of disabled women throughout the world. It was organized by The Only One Foundation with a second purpose of showing that beautiful women who are wheelchair bound live throughout the world.

    The competition is a reminder not only that beauty comes in many different forms - but also that being wheelchair bound doesn't mean that you have to be constrained.

    Every  woman [in] a wheelchair has [a] right to be whoever she wants and to feel beautiful.

    photo-by-czarek-sokolowski-ap

    About The Only One Foundation

    The Only One Foundation was founded by two disabled mothers who wanted to direct attention to the matters of women with disabilities.

    It is a project aimed at the integration of mothers with disabilities, creating pathways among moms who have disabilities to be able to communicate and share information as well as their experiences.

    As part of The Only One Foundation, there was an exhibition entitled, "Which One? The Only One!" showing disabled mothers together with their children to prove that their physical limitations weren't a barrier.

    Read more about The Only One Foundation here.

    Other Links to Miss Wheelchair World

    You can also view more information about the Miss Wheelchair World pageant below:

    Congratulations to all of the winners!

  • Make Your Vehicle Wheelchair Accessible

    Getting into a new or used handicap van can be a time filled with both excitement and anxiety.

    If this is your first time converting your van into one that is wheelchair accessible, there are several things that you can do to make your vehicle more wheelchair accessible. Below, we outline several tips.

    Mobility Options for Making a Vehicle Handicap Accessible

    At Van Products, we are your mobility experts. Whether you own a handicap van and are looking to add mobility options to it - or you own a regular minivan that you're interested in converting - we can help!

    #1 - Prep your van by removing the seats.

    Depending on the type of wheelchair ramp you plan to use, you may need to remove all or some of the seats. For example, if you want your van to have a side-entry wheelchair ramp, you'll want to remove the center row of seats. If you plan to have a rear-entry wheelchair van, you'll want to remove the rear row of seats to allow enough space for the rear entry ramp.

     

    #2 - Measure the height of your minivan.

    You may not be aware of it initially, but the height of your minivan matters. Take your measurements from the ground, and be sure to include the width of the door(s) to your minivan (side and back).

    These measurements will allow you to speak to a mobility specialist about getting a side or rear-entry wheelchair ramp that meets the specific measurements of your vehicle.

     

     

    #3 - Installing Wheelchair Tie-Downs

    Wheelchair tie-downs are a type of securement for wheelchairs that are used throughout the industry. This allows persons in wheelchairs to travel safely when inside of a moving vehicle. At Van Products, we offer several different types of wheelchair tie-downs including:

     

    Among the different brands of wheelchair tie-downs, there are two types of wheelchair tie-downs that are commonly used.

    4-Point Tie Downs

    The 4-point system is the most common type of wheelchair tie-down. It is a manual tie-down method that consists of four straps that attach to the wheelchair. These straps secure the wheelchair to the floor of the van and are tightened using a ratchet.

    Electric Wheelchair Restraints

    If you use an electric wheelchair, electric wheelchair restraints allow for more independent use. This type of wheelchair tie-down consists of a connecting component that is attached to the bottom of the wheelchair and connects to an anchored device that is mounted to the floor of the vehicle.

    When the two components meet, there is an audible 'click' indicating that the wheelchair is now securely in place.

    2016-toyota-sienna-se

    #4 - Automotive Seating

    If you plan to operate your handicap van independently, one of the most important components is making sure you have the right kind of automotive seating.

    Van Products offers a range of innovative and customizable automotive seating for physically disabled drivers.

    Contact Van Products Today

    For additional information about converting your minivan into a handicap accessible van, contact Van Products today. We also offer a full inventory of new and pre-owned handicap vans. Call us today to speak with one of our mobility specialists: 919-238-4597.

  • Ways to Offer Support During Spinal Cord Injury

    A spinal cord injury is a life altering event that can be scary, confusing and emotionally draining for everyone involved. Amidst all of the changes that a spinal injury causes, it is important to be supportive. Below, we offer some suggestions to help you offer support to loved ones after a spinal cord injury.

    by-edwin-martinez1-flickr-cc

    Being Supportive After Spinal Cord Injury

    According to the United Spinal Association, near half of all individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) need personal assistance with regular, day-to-day activities.

    Following are some tips to help you be more supportive to a loved one who has just experienced a spinal cord injury.

    #1 - Understand the spinal cord injury.

    While you may not be able to empathize with all that the person is going through, it helps to learn as much as you can about their spinal cord injury. Doing so will help you better understand how their particular injury affects them, including the types of treatment needed and emotional effects.

    #2 - Encourage exercise & physical therapy.

    Building and/or maintaining strength is important with any injury - especially a spinal cord injury. Regular exercise and physical therapy will help the person build strength as well as boost his/her mood.

    Know what types of exercises/physical therapy the person needs or is going through, and offer to go with them or exercise alongside of them. This may make an otherwise difficult task more enjoyable knowing that you are accountable to each other.

    #3 - Reinforce goal setting.

    Without clear goal setting, it is often difficult to see the bigger picture. Having and setting goals gives the person something to work towards - whether it’s finishing a specific physical exercise or finishing work on a college degree. Help motivate them to keep them pushing ahead.

    #4 - Don’t always help immediately.

    It is natural for us to want to immediately help someone who we perceive as struggling with something. However, in the case of physically disabled persons, it is sometimes better to demonstrate restraint.

    With spinal cord injuries, you can’t and shouldn’t do everything for the person. Give them an opportunity to act independently and only step in when asked or when it is more obviously appropriate.

    This will save the person embarrassment and frustration.

    #5 - Consider a spinal cord injury support group.

    Navigating spinal cord injury on your own can be challenging. Regardless of whether it’s you or another loved one you’re caring for, speaking to others who are experiencing the same thing can prove rewarding while offering the emotional support you need.

    Other Resources

    United Spinal Association - The United Spinal Association provides a comprehensive list of spinal cord injury support groups. Search by state.

    Spinal Cord Injury Associations & Organizations - Offers a list of spinal cord injury associations and organizations within the United States.

    North Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association (NCSCIA) - Offers a comprehensive list of spinal cord injury support groups throughout the state of North Carolina.

     

  • Caring for the Caregiver

    Caregivers do so much to help care for those who have mobility issues or other medical problems due to injury, older age or disability. However, who cares for the caregiver, and how does the health of someone hold up if they're constantly putting others' needs before themselves?

    Perhaps not surprisingly, caregivers are more likely than others to have coexisting anxiety or depression, in part, due to the physical and emotional stress that often comes with caring for another person.

    deepres-flickr

    Caregiving: A Rewarding but Often Stressful Responsibility

    While being a caregiver is incredibly rewarding, it is a "job" that doesn't pay but demands quite a bit from the individual. Did you know: According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP, Nearly 45 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to a child or adult in the last year?

    Tips for Caregivers

    Below, we've compiled several helpful tips to help you (or the caregiver in your life) lead a healthier life while still providing care to loved ones.

    #1 - Know the signs of caregiver stress.

    Some signs of caregiver stress include (but are not limited to):

    • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
    • Feeling tired most of the time
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Irritable mood
    • Losing interest in activities they once used to enjoy
    • Substance abuse (drugs/alcohol)

    #2 - Join a support group.

    It can be helpful to receive encouragement and problem-solve with other like-minded individuals who are experiencing similar situations to you.

    #3 - Exercise.

    Getting regular exercise can help to ease stress and help you focus on your own health. It is important to take care of yourself first so that you can provide quality care to those you love.

    #4 - Eat healthy.

    Diet is just as important as exercise. Don’t negate the effects of a good workout by eating poorly. Eat food that is nutritious and which will supply your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

    #5 - Get plenty of rest.

    Sleep is one of the biggest things anyone can do for their body to help it function better. When we sleep, we allow our bodies the chance to recharge.

    You are Not Alone.

    It is easy to get caught up in the act of caregiving so much so that it leaves you feeling overwhelmed or even guilty. Know that you are not alone; other caregivers are in similar situations. In addition to the tips above, it is also helpful to take advantage of any and all local resources you may have available. A great resource for caregivers is the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).

    For other information about mobility accessories or other resources for those with physical disabilities, contact Van Products today: (800) 209-6133.

  • Navigating the Airport by Wheelchair: 5 Things to Know

    Have you ever tried to navigate the airport during the holiday season or some other busy time? Now imagine doing it from a wheelchair.

    Today, most airports comply with federal and state regulations to make areas accessible to those faced with mobility challenges, but there is still room for improvement. If you or someone you know is wheelchair bound, the following are some helpful things to keep in mind.

    Barriers to Travel for Wheelchair Users

    Airports can be busy and confusing places for people – especially when that person is faced with mobility challenges. Whether you or someone you love is traveling by wheelchair, pay attention to the following, potential barriers. How many of these are barriers to mobility at your local airport?

    • Terminal parking
    • Ticketing counters
    • Security
    • Transfer to aisle chair and airplane seat
    • Wheelchair storage
    • Transferring back to a wheelchair
    • Baggage claim
    • Etc.
    airport

    Tips to Better Navigate the Airport by Wheelchair

    #1 - Plan ahead.

    Barring family events or visiting friends, when you plan a trip, be diligent and consider traveling to places where there is plenty of accessibility. For example, did you know that you can take a wheelchair accessible trip to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon rainforest? This may mean being a little more selective in your travel destination.

    #2 - Call ahead.

    Even if you've traveled with a wheelchair before, it is still prudent to find out what sorts of restrictions may apply to you or a loved one when traveling by wheelchair. For more information, call the disability hotline operated by the US Department of Transportation at (800) 778-4838 with any mobility/wheelchair access-related questions.

    #3 - Reserve a wheelchair in advance.

    Are you traveling with an elderly parent or someone with limited mobility? Wheelchairs are available free of charge at most airports, and in most cases, an airport employee will be available to take you by wheelchair (or electric cart) to your gate.

    Reservations may be made up to a few days in advance of your flight. Simply call your local airport and let them know that you need a wheelchair. They will ask you a few questions about your level of mobility, which will help them best determine what type of wheelchair access you need. If you are traveling with someone who needs a wheelchair or who has a special type of wheelchair, this is also a good time to speak to an airport representative. He/she will help ensure that your visit to the airport goes as smoothly as possible.

    #4 - Consider a travel agent.

    If you are planning travel outside of the country or are traveling alone to an unfamiliar area, it may be worthwhile to hire a travel agent who specializes in disabled travel. Specialized travel agencies are knowledgable about and can reserve transportation, flights, hotels, tours and more that accommodate wheelchair users. In some cases, you can even request a certified travel companion and special medical equipment rental.

    As with other types of travel agents, you'll want to do your due diligence to ensure that the travel agent you hire is experienced and vetted.

    #5 - Know where to park.

    Parking can be tricky at most airports. If it's your first time flying out your local airport in a wheelchair or with a wheelchair user, it may not be a bad idea to do a "dry run" the week before you're schedule to fly out. This will allow you time to get the lay of the land, figure out where to park and ask questions of airport staff while there.

    Finally - be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to navigate the airport - from the time you park to the time you arrive at your gate. Doing so will help improve your travel experience.

    For more information about mobility accessories for wheelchair users, contact Van Products today (800) 209-6133.

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