Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • 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.


    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.

  • Winter Tips for People with Physical Disabilities

    #1 - Have an emergency kit (in the car, at home)

    Regardless of whether you have a physical disability or not, you should keep an emergency kit in your home as well as in your handicapped van or other vehicle.

    The items you choose to include in your emergency kit can vary, but many people choose to include:

    • Batteries
    • Flashlight
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Water
    • Blanket(s)
    • Clothing
    • First Aid supplies*

    *If you or someone you know has a physical disability, you will want to check with a physician to confirm what other items you may want to include in an emergency kit. For example:

    Backup supply for electrical-powered mobility equipment

    • Oxygen tank
    • Extra medications (prescription & non-prescription)
    • Hearing aids

    #2 - Have an emergency plan.

    Does your physical disability require the use of a service pet or caregiver assistance? Speak to your family, physician, and caregiver about an emergency plan in the even that there is bad winter weather or power outages.

    Consider nearby shelters, or hospitals that can accommodate your special needs should an emergency arise. Be sure that your neighbors are included and are aware of your needs, just in case assistance is needed.

    #3 - Avoid going outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

    In icy conditions, it is best to remain indoors. Roads are unsafe to drive on , and even if you feel confident in your driving abilities, you may not be able to predict the behavior of other drivers when there is inclement weather present.

    #4 - Keep your cell phone charged.

    Know that bad weather is on the way? Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. It may be helpful to have a backup battery for your cell phone just in case. Never charge your phone in your vehicle with the garage door closed.

    #5 - Be aware of the needs of your service pet.

    Just like humans, dogs can suffer frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid venturing outside, and avoid letting your dog outside for extended periods of time. If you do find yourself on the road, be sure to keep an extra blanket and extra water for your service dog.

    #6 - Dress in layers.

    When bad weather hits during the weather, it is always best to be dressed in layers in case the power goes out or in the event that you have to be evacuated from your home.

    #7 - Have a list of emergency numbers handy.

    Keep a list of important phone numbers handy. While it is great to include these phone numbers in your cell phone, it is best to also have them written down in a phone book and safely stored nearby (in case the power goes out or your cell phone dies).

    Be sure to let your emergency contacts know that they are your emergency contacts.

    #8 - Winterize your handicap van.

    Be one step ahead of any winter weather situation by making sure the gas tank in your handicap van is kept full. A full gas tank will help keep your fuel line from freezing.

    #9 - Consider alternative heating methods.

    Have a wood burning fireplace in your home? Make sure you keep your fireplaces and other heating sources cleaned and inspected regularly. In the event that the power is out for an extended period of time, you may be able to use alternate heating sources.

    #10 - Keep sand, kitty litter, or rock salt handy.

    Patios, front door areas, driveways, sidewalks, steps, etc. are all danger zones for people with and without physical disabilities whenever winter weather hits. Having sand, salt, or kitty litter to spread down can give more traction and prevent nasty falls.

  • MXV Gets Camo Wrap for 'Back in the Woods Again' Hunt

    Raleigh, NC (September 19, 2016) - 

    Van Products is a proud sponsor of the 'Back in the Woods Again' Hunt, an annual event aimed at providing disabled hunters with an opportunity to go hunting. This year, Van Products was excited to take a brand new Ford MXV SUV and outfit it in a customized camo wrap ahead of this year's 6th Annual event, which took place September 16 - 17.

    Starting off with a Clean Slate

    Pictured below, the Ford MXV Started off white, but it soon received a custom camo wrap at Executive Signs & Graphics:

    (Click on each image to view a larger size.)

    Ford MXV Gets Custom Camo Wrap

    In no time, the Ford MXV was completely transformed and ready for the Back in the Woods Again hunt. Take a look at the finished product below:

    (Click on each image to view a larger size.)

    About 'Back in the Woods Again'

    Founded by Tommy Estridge and Jerome Davis in late 2011, Back in the Woods Again is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at providing disabled sportsmen and sportswomen with an opportunity to go hunting, despite being disabled. To accomplish this, Estridge and Davis partnered with private land owners in Chatham County, NC (as well as surrounding areas) in order to provide each of the disabled hunters with a great experience.

  • Wheelchair Accessibility on the Internet

    When searching for wheelchair accessible or handicap accessible places on the Internet, you should ask yourself the following questions, and pay close attention to the answers you find!


    Is there a wheelchair accessible entrance?

    As the person: Having a wheelchair accessible entrance is important because it will let you know if you will need additional assistance getting into the establishment.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' to this question if the wheelchair accessible entrance to the business is approximately one meter wide and does NOT have steps. If your business has one of more steps, you should have a permanent ramp. A moveable ramp is also acceptable. If your business has an entryway that only has revolving doors, you should always mark, 'No' to being wheelchair accessible.

    Is there wheelchair accessible seating?

    As the person: Especially if you are searching for a good place to eat dinner with family or friends, you always want to make sure that there are wheelchair accessible seating options. This ensures that you will have enough room to comfortably sit at and navigate the table.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' if the main area of the business can be access entirely without stairs and there is enough space for someone in a wheelchair to comfortably sit at a table. For example, if your business only had pub height tables, it would not be considered "wheelchair-friendly".

    Is there wheelchair/handicap parking?

    As the person: Having handicap or wheelchair accessible parking is important because of the proximity of the space to the place of business, but more importantly because wheelchair accessible spaces are wider to allow you to comfortably navigate getting into and out of your vehicle if needed.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' if you actually have designated parking spots for those with mobility needs, marked by an official placard, sign, and/or painting on the ground.

    Is there a wheelchair accessible elevator?

    As the person: It is unrealistic to expect every business or place that you visit to be on one level. However, it is reasonable to expect that if a business deems itself 'handicap-accessible' and is located in a multi-level building - it should have a wheelchair-friendly elevator.

    As the business: Businesses who are multi-storied and who claim to be wheelchair accessible should have an elevator that is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair + other passengers. If you do not have an elevator at all but have more than one story, you cannot claim to be wheelchair-friendly.

  • Top Things NOT to Say to Someone in a Wheelchair

    Understandably, it can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has a physical disability if you've never experienced it yourself. However, like most things, it helps to be a little thoughtful when communicating with someone who has a physical disability.

    The following are some things we don't recommend saying to someone who uses a wheelchair.


    Avoid Saying This a Wheelchair User

    #1 - You're such an inspiration.

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Keep in mind that wheelchair users are just regular people like yourself who are performing many of the same daily tasks that you are! Praising them for doing something that everyone does can sometimes single them out and make them feel uncomfortable.

    #2 - "I parked here because I just needed to run in and grab something quick."

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Parking your vehicle in a handicap space is a huge No-No. Keep in mind that handicap spaces are there for a reason. The few minutes it may take you to run in and do some light grocery shopping may be the exact moment that someone with a physical disability drives up looking for a parking space. Also keep in mind the fact that handicap spaces are wider/larger to allow people with physical disabilities enough room to safely get out of their vehicle.

    #3 - What happened?

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Unless you know the person extremely well, it is considered rude and inappropriate to ask someone a personal question about the root cause of their physical disability. If they don't offer first, don't ask.

    #4 - "I had to use a wheelchair when I broke my leg, so I know how you feel."

    Why you shouldn't say it:

    Everyone's experience with mobility challenges is different. Most importantly, you cannot begin to compare a broken leg (which is temporary) to someone who may have a permanent physical disability. The two are like night and day, and trying to compare yourself in this way is not only demeaning; it can be demoralizing. Don't do it!

    #5 - Don't squat down to talk to someone in a wheelchair.

    Why you shouldn't do it:

    Unless the wheelchair user is a child, you should avoid squatting down to speak to someone in a wheelchair. Many adult wheelchair users view this as patronizing. If anything, you can ask the wheelchair user if they would prefer you to sit down or remain standing. Whatever you do, do not assume!

    What are things can you think of? What sorts of positive actions can non-wheelchair users take when communicating with wheelchair users?


  • Bringing Freedom of Mobility to the Triangle

    image-by-mesaba-flickr-ccSince Van Products was founded in 1974, we have dedicated ourselves to providing high quality, wheelchair-accessible vehicles to the Triangle area.

    Whether you're a former military member, or you're a family member to someone who has a physical disability, we are committed to making your life more accessible.

    Providing Freedom of Mobility to the Triangle

    The advance of technology has brought us a long way in terms of accessibility and affordability, and today, there are more options than ever for those with physical disabilities to live more independently. From home automation to mobility products, such as stair lifts, scooters, and more- physically disabled persons no longer have to view their disability as a barrier to doing what they want to do.

    At Van Products, we are proud to sell certified pre-owned and new handicap vans. We only sell handicap vans that are from trusted brands, and we will only sell certified used handicap vans that have passed through a stringent quality assurance and safety test.

    From Our Family to Yours

    Unlike some handicap van dealers, we truly know and understand our audience. Our team of wheelchair van specialists in Raleigh (and in our Wilmington location) know what it's like to be disabled - either because they themselves are faced with a mobility challenge, or they have relatives or friends who are faced with mobility challenges of their own.

    Having said that, we are familiar and empathetic to the types of challenges that physically disabled persons face - especially when it comes to having what they need inside of their vehicle and outside in order to get themselves from Point A to Point B.

    We encourage you to stop by our Raleigh showroom today. Our showroom is interactive, and it will give you the chance to test out different mobility features for a variety of wheelchair vans that we carry.

    Have trouble making it to our Raleigh or Wilmington showroom? Talk to one of our mobility specialists, and we'll arrange an in-home wheelchair van demonstration.

    Freedom to Travel Where You Want, When You Want

    Don't let a physical disability be a barrier to you being able to do the things you want. At Van Products, we're here to help make sure your wheelchair van moves you wherever you want to go.

    Contact us today.

  • Interesting Facts About Ladders

    From firefighters to roofers to construction workers, landscapers, and more - many contractors use ladders as part of their daily routine. But how much do you actually know about ladders? Below, we share some interesting and fun information.

    by Newsum Antiques on flickr cc

    Fun Facts About Ladders

    #1 - Ladders have been around for a while.

    The first ladder was depicted in a painting in Spain, dating back at least 10,000 years.

    #2 - There are tons of different styles.

    Ladders are available in many forms ranging from: attic ladders, orchard ladders, and roof ladders to sectional ladders, cat ladders, Christmas tree ladders, and more!

    #3 - Ladder accidents are more common than you think.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 50 percent of ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items while they climbed. Additionally, each year, more than 900,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries!

    #4 - There are 4 main types of ladder injuries.

    These include injuries related to: selecting the wrong type of ladder, using worn/damaged ladders, using ladders incorrectly, and placing ladders incorrectly. [source]

    #5 - Ladders have made it into the Guinness World Records.

    The world's longest ladder is made of wood and measures 135 feet long. It has 120 rungs and was designed by the Handwerks Museum in Austria in 2005. [source]

    General Safety Tips When Using Ladders

    #1 - Select the length carefully.

    Depending on the type of work you are doing, you don't want a ladder that is too short or too long because it can cause you to fall or lose your balance.

    #2 - Select the type of ladder carefully.

    For example, if you are doing roofing work, you may need an extended ladder. However, for other types of work, a straight ladder will be better. You'll also want to pay close attention to what material(s) the ladder is made out of. You may like it that one ladder is lighter and easier to carry, but it may not be safe to use for heavy duty work. If you are unsure, always consult an expert.

    #3 - Know the carrying capacity of the ladder.

    The total weight of a ladder is significantly greater when you're climbing it (especially with equipment/tools/clothing). Therefore, when selecting your ladder, look for one whose maximum carrying capacity matches what you'll need.

  • Benefits of Organizing Your Van for Business

    Being organized can pay dividends - especially if you own or use a commercial upfit. Most contractors know the importance of staying organized- whether they're at their home base or on the road. It can become very easy to get sidetracked when you're juggling appointments, clients, paperwork, tools, and other equipment.


    Benefits of Commercial Upfits

    Having a vehicle that has been commercially upfitted can be extremely beneficial to any business - from carpenters to rug doctors, to flooring salesmen, plumbers, and more. For many of these businesses, their employees are on the road 90 percent of the time. Take a look at some of the benefits of having an organized, mobile workspace:

    #1 - Your vehicle becomes your showroom.

    For some contractors who are on the road, their vehicle IS the showroom. Take flooring experts. They often bring samples of different flooring to clients' homes so that they may show them how a certain type of floor would look in their house. In some cases (depending on the size of the vehicle), they may actually recreate a small, living space to give the full effect!

    Having drawers, panels, and adjustable shelving is a must!

    #2 - You have a lot of tools.

    For people like plumbers - you don't have time to "run back to the office" to grab a tool that you forgot - especially if it's an emergency. Plumbers who show up to someone's home because their toilet is flooding the top floor of their house need to have the tools and equipment necessary to fix the problem, and they need that tool FAST.

    Having an organized van/vehicle where you can quickly refer to a drawer or shelf for an item is a must.

    #3 - You have bulky, heavy, or expensive equipment.

    For people like carpenters, organization is key - but so is having the space and the type of accommodations that will comfortably house and transport the type of heavy and/or expensive equipment needed to get the job done. Take roofers, for example. Their vehicles need to be able to carry long ladders, drills, and other equipment that help them do their job.

    Having a place for all of your items is important. You may need ladder racks that are adjustable for different sized ladders, or you may need shelving with drawers that allow you to house different sized nails and drill bits.

    Commercial upfits can do all of this and more.

    #4 - You want to keep track of your inventory.

    Believe it or not, being organized (especially when you're on the road a lot) can really help you keep track of all your inventory. Being able to manage your inventory effectively is an important part of making sure that all of your tools and equipment are accounted for and are in good working order.

    #5 - You want to look professional.

    Would you want to do business with someone who shows up to your home in an unmarked, beaten up van? Or, would you prefer to do business with someone who pulls up in a clean, well organized van with their company logo on the side?

    Looks are important, and being organized is a huge part of that.

    Commercial Upfits & Your Safety

    One of the most important benefits of commercial upfits is the safety it offers. A well-organized van/truck is also a SAFE vehicle. Image the kind of damage and danger you might be putting yourself (and other motorists) in by having loose tools in the back of your van. In the event of an accident or a sudden stop, unsecured equipment can move around and become dangerous objects that can damage your other tools/equipment or even other people.

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Commercial Upfit Safer

    Having a commercial vehicle has its advantages. You have plenty of room to organize all of your tools, paperwork, and equipment. If you're in the market of selling a service, a vehicle that has been commercially upfitted allows you to travel easily to customers and prospects to show them exactly what you're selling, making it more convenient for them.

    However, traveling safely (especially when you're traveling with quite a bit of expensive equipment) is important. The following are some safety tips to keep in mind.


    5 Tips for Traveling Safer

    #1 - Make sure everything is properly secured.

    There's a reason why commercial upfits come with custom shelving, adjustable racks, drawers, and more. However, it is a moot point if you don't do your own due diligence to make sure that everything is properly secured.

    #2 - Always leave your vehicle locked.

    Even if you're in what you think is a safe neighborhood, the last thing you want is someone (or something) getting into your vehicle. Be diligent about keeping doors locked, items out of view, and windows rolled up.

    #3 - Be sure your tires are in good, working condition.

    Tires are one of the most important parts of your safety on the road. Especially if you're mobile, you'll want to make sure that there is plenty of tread on your tires. Be on the lookout for underinflated tires as well.

    #4 - Be aware of noise in your commercial upfit.

    Believe it or not, it is important to reduce any noise coming from your commercial upfit as a way to improve your safety on the road. Noises can be distracting, and it can cause you to not hear other things that are happening outside of your vehicle. Many commercial upfits have a separate cabin that doesn't allow you to look behind you as easily to see what the traffic is doing. Therefore, take steps to be sure that all of your tools and equipment are secure, and consider installing sound-deadening panels to help quiet the ride.

    #5 - Check your exhaust system.

    One of the first places you may notice trouble in any vehicle is from the exhaust system. Be sure to keep up with oil changes, and regular tune-ups to help maintain a safe, quiet ride!

  • Van Products Captures Title at Bridge II Sports Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

    Van Products is a proud sponsor of Bridge II Sports, an organization whose mission is to educate, develop and implement opportunities for youth and adults with physical disabilities to play individual, team and recreational sports.

    This year, we hosted a wheelchair basketball team at the August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, and we are proud to announce that our team took home the title! We are incredibly honored to be part of such a wonderful event. Learn more about August Madness as well as Bridge II Sports below.

    About August Madness 2016

    August Madness provides opportunities for organizations to join the adapted sports movement by participating in an exciting day of wheelchair basketball while supporting the mission of Bridge II Sports!

    Through sports, Bridge II Sports is helping raise awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities.

    At the tournament, organizations (like Van Products) put together a team of 4 employees to experience the fun of wheelchair basketball and play in a double-elimination tournament on the floor at PNC Arena.  Each team then picks an All-Star 5th player  to join their team.

    Check out one of our "winning" pictures below, taken at this year's August Madness Basketball Tournament!


    About Bridge II Sports

    Bridge II Sports believes that your disability does not define who you are. Through their organization, they invite members of the community to come together in an arena of fun to discover an active lifestyle, regardless of ability. Here, disabled veterans have a great opportunity to train and be part of a competitive team.

    About the Valor Games

    Each year, Bridge II Sports hosts their Valor Games. The Valor Games is a competition for all disabled veterans as well as disabled members of the Armed Forces.

    A body changed by injury needs the discipline and challenge of physical activity to stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. It is the key to recovery and long-term health, and re-integration into your community at home.

    This year, the Valor Games Southeast was held at venues of historic competition and athletic excellence:

    Grant funding for the Valor Games is awarded by The Department of Veterans Affairs. The grants are provided to facilitate the growth of adaptive sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.

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