Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair Accessibility is constantly evolving in today’s world, so AMS Vans gives this hot topic the attention it deserves in our blog. You’re not alone in facing challenges when traveling, commuting, working, and simply getting around in your day-to-day life. You’ll read first-person accounts of the obstacles encountered by others with disabilities. Our hope is to educate everyone on the critical need for wheelchair accessibility.

Help Us Bring Assistive Equipment to Those in Need

Upon having his adaptive bike stolen, Beorn’s family (fondly known as Bubba) received an outpouring of support and generosity. While AMS Vans will be providing Bubba with a new Rifton Adaptive Tricycle, there are still many families and children like him in need. And, you can help.

The Suzy Foundation is a charity especially close to Beorn’s family’s heart. The foundation specializes in helping to obtain assistive equipment for individuals with special needs – like this amazing bike.

To get involved, go to suzyfoundation.org

flat tire with jack

Items to Keep in Your Vehicle in Case of an Emergency

We can’t always predict what is going to happen, but we can take some steps to prepare for an emergency or unexpected situation. While you might already have your vehicle’s owner’s manual and insurance information available, adding a few more essential items in your vehicle goes a long way in making an emergency manageable, safer and more comfortable for all involved.

Let’s look at a few of those essential items you should always keep in your vehicle to be safe:

First Aid Kit

You can either purchase a prepackaged one or assemble your own first aid kit. If you choose to assemble your own kit, make sure you include bandages in various sizes, sanitary gloves, antibiotic cream, pain relievers, gauze, cotton swabs, as well as a hand sanitizer. Also, consider including a thermometer, heating pad, and medications you feel you might need.

Warning Devices

In case you are stuck on a busy road or in traffic, having an emergency signal or road flare will warn other motorists that your car is stalled. While some are foldable and can fit in your glove box, avoid storing your flares there or in any part of your car that gets very warm. It might also help to read up on the proper and safe way of lighting a road flare.

Map

Most people are so comfortable these days relying on their phones for navigation, that they don’t think to keep a map in their vehicle. It’s a good idea though, so you can find your way if your phone or other GPS device fails.

map

 

Spare Tire and Jumper Cables

They both can provide makeshift solutions to the most common issues you will experience with your vehicle. If you can find room in your vehicle, the spare tire will be useful when replacing a flat, while the jumper cables can be utilized to jump-start your vehicle in case of a dead battery. Even if you’re not able to use these things, having them handy will still help if a fellow motorists stops to lend a hand.

Tire Iron, Jack, and Tire Wedges

Having the proper tools to fix a flat tire is also a good idea. Whether it will be someone else changing the flat tire or you will be the one doing it yourself, having the right tools is the first key step. The tire wedges help keep your vehicle from rolling.

Flashlight

Though you might be tempted to use your phone as a source of light, it is best to save your battery, especially if you won’t be able to charge your phone. A flashlight is a better option – and offers brighter light, too. It will make it possible for you to analyze the extent of the emergency at night, and even signal someone for help. Remember always to have spare batteries.

Warm Clothes and Blanket

Keeping warm clothes and a blanket is essential, especially when temperatures drop, and your heater doesn’t work. Consider storing a thermal sleeping bag or a fleece blanket. Clothes like gloves, hats, and an extra sweater will be sure to keep you warm if you get stranded in cold places. Even during warmer months, temperatures can drop at night.

desert road

Food and Water

Store a few bottles of drinking water for drinking, and extra jugs for cooling your engine, in your trunk. Consider keeping some packets of electrolyte powered to add to your water to help you stay hydrated. Non-perishable food items and high-protein snack foods are also good to keep on hand in case you become stranded for a lengthy period of time. Energy bars are a great choice and last a while.

Chargers

Our phones play an important role in our lives, from communication to telling the time to our navigation. So, if your phone dies, your emergency situation could get more challenging. To be proactive, try to keep an extra phone charger in your vehicle at all times.

If you use a power wheelchair or another medical device that requires power, be sure to carry extra chargers for those in your vehicle, as well.

Towel and/or Cleaning Wipes

Depending on the type of situation you find yourself in, a towel or cleaning wipes may come in handy. You could need to clean up a spill in the vehicle or wipe your hands off.

These are just a few items that could go along way to making your unfortunate situation a little easier. So, grab a duffle bag or plastic storage tub and keep all these items somewhere accessible for a rainy day!

Peace of Mind with VMI Assurance

If you do find yourself on the side of the road, you won’t have to be there long with VMI Assurance. No one likes getting stranded in a broken-down vehicle, but we know that for a driver or passenger with mobility challenges, that situation can be much more than an inconvenience. Unfortunately, most roadside service or repair companies aren’t typically equipped to assist with getting accessible vehicles back on the road, and they’re especially not prepared to transport individuals with mobility challenges. Well, at VMI, we’re all about fixing problems for our customers. That’s why we partnered with Mobility Roadside Assistance™ (MRA) and At-Home Service™ provided by Wrench, Inc. to deliver the VMI Assurance program—an exclusive solution offered by VMI.

informative graphic about VMI Assurance program

Through our VMI Assurance program, we will provide one year of complimentary roadside assistance for customers who purchase a new or used vehicle with a new conversion from AMS Vans. What makes this different from other roadside services is that in addition to taking care of the vehicle, Mobility Roadside Assistance (MRA) will also assist the driver and passengers with paratransit service, ensuring they don’t end up stranded on the side of the road!

Contact us to learn more today!

Celebrating 29 Years of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Disabilities are nothing new. However, the fact that the country has been helping people with disabilities is still relatively new. This month, we celebrate 29 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Developed in 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was a milestone that has created equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

It Started With the Capitol Crawl capital crawl where people with disabilities climbed the steps of the U.S. capitol building

In March of 1990, there were dozens of activists with disabilities who got out of their wheelchairs in order to “crawl” up the steps to the Capitol building to protest that the government wasn’t sufficiently advocating for those with disabilities.

It took quite a while for the ADA to pass through Congress. It was introduced in 1988 with bipartisan support. Since it took so long to pass, the Capitol Crawl was used to garner support and show that our community wouldn’t be ignored. After that, Congress pushed it through, becoming law in July of the same year.

What the Americans With Disabilities Act Offers

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits people with disabilities from being discriminated, including in such areas as public accommodations, transportation, employment, access to local and state government programs, as well as communications.

A variety of different federal agencies will enforce or investigate claims surrounding ADA. This includes the US Department of Labor, US Department of Transportation, FCC, US Equal Employment opportunity Commission, the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Education, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and even the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Developed in 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was a milestone. Indeed, it ensures that people do not discriminate against the disabled.

Confident business owners planning new business strategies.

Since the ADA was passed, communities have become more and more accessible. This includes everything from mandatory wheelchair accessible parking to curb-cuts. Almost all buses today are wheelchair accessible. Employers can’t discriminate against someone because of a disability. Government buildings have gone through renovations to allow access to all. Service dogs are protected and allowed to serve their owners, regardless of where they are.

The Timeline of Changes

Although the ADA was first developed in 1990, changes have been ongoing, providing even more rights to those with disabilities. For example, in 1991 there were more laws that focused on public accommodations. Then, in 1992, the ADA expanded to include employers with 25 or more employees. In 1999, there were two rulings by the Supreme Court that helped ensure that more people were covered by the Americans with disabilities act, including those taking certain types of medication. Even in 2006, there were updates to transportation regulations.

President Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990

President Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990

By 2008, there was the ADA Amendments Act, known as ADAAA. This was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush as a way of counteracting the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of disability. It provided broader protection from discrimination. Further, it ensured that the definition of disability included having a mental or physical impairment that significantly limits one or multiple areas of life.

While the ADA and the following amendments have gone so far to ensure access and protect the rights of Americans with disabilities, there is still much work to be done. Attitudinal barriers and enforcement of the law continue to be a challenge for many people. We’re proud at AMS Vans to be a part of the fight!

Learn more about becoming a disability rights advocate from United Spinal Association here.

A Solution for Those With Disabilities

At AMS Vans LLC, we have been helping those with disabilities for over 20 years, all across the nation. We’ll work directly with you to provide quality wheelchair accessible vans that provide you with the mobile freedom that you desire. We offer a number of conversions – and you can find long and short-term rentals as well as direct sales to meet your personal needs. With AMS Vans, you can count on nationwide delivery and service, leasing and financing options and unmatched customer service.

Inclusive Technology: 5 Smart Devices That Increase Independence for People With Disabilities

smart phone controlling colored philips hue lights in home

Philips Hue Lights (photo: Engadget.com)

For people with physical disabilities, smart technology is more than just a convenience; it can be the key to increased independence. Today, smart technology is available for almost every aspect of our lives. It has been integrated into homes, vehicles, and mobile phones – and it seems new technologies become available everyday.

Here is some common smart technology that’s available:

1. Smart Speakers

Devices such as the Amazon EchoEcho Spot, and Echo Dot act as virtual assistants, making it possible for you to use your voice to control certain devices in your home. Those with limited hand mobility can now turn on the television, change the channel, and create a shopping list with a few words.

Devices like Alexa and the Apple Home app let you do more than just control devices; you can set up automated scenes as well. These give you the option of controlling multiple devices at once.

2. Smart Lights

The Philips Hue Light Bulbs, for example, can be controlled by the use of your smartphone and their compatibility with Alexa and Google Home allows you to control your lights by voice command as well. It is now possible to adjust brightness, schedule when the lights go on and off or even change their color. So, these cool lights not only improve independence for folks with limited mobility, but they can also change to suit your mood.

3. Smart Plugs

The VOCOlinc power strips make it possible for you to switch off or on appliances that are plugged into the socket. This is done either by a speaker or phone. This proves helpful, especially since most sockets are low and often difficult to reach.

4. Smart Doorbells

Doorbells today such as the Ring Doorbell come fitted with motion-sensor cameras that display footage of whoever is at your door on your phone’s screen. This provides the added security of knowing who is at the door before opening it. Others have the option of letting you speak to whoever is at the door through your phone.

5. Smart Locks

sebastian-scholz-nuki-IJkSskfEqrM-unsplash smart devices

Smartphone held at the door to auto-unlock it.

If you have visitors, you can give them access to your home without having to open the door. You also have the option of doing away with having to lock and unlock the deadbolt or fumble with keys.

The August Smart Lock, for instance, is a device that is attached to your door’s deadbolt and contains a motor that turns the deadbolt. Using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you can control the lock on your door. It is also compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit, allowing you to operate the lock on your door with a simple voice command.

You are also able to grant people access to your home by sending an invite to their phone. This gives them access to your home but on your schedule. It notifies you each time the door is unlocked or locked and also records who entered your home and when. This could be really helpful to let in caretakers or visitors.

…And There’s More!

Smart devices do not just end there; there is also the option of getting a robotic vacuum cleaner like the Roomba 675 to help keep your home clean. A smart ceiling fan or wifi-controlled thermostat can help regulate your home’s temperature. Smart devices and their implementation in smart homes are continuously giving those with disabilities more independence than ever before.

Speaking of technology that increases independence, did you know we provide more than just wheelchair accessible vehicles at AMS Vans? We also offer adaptive driving aids, powered transfer seats and much more! Learn more here.