Portable Lifts / Evacuation Chairs

Does anybody have any knowledge about portable chairs for disabled people which have a track on the back on them to take people safely up and down stairs? These people sell and hire such chairs for evacuation purposes, but the proper ones with a track on the back only go down stairs. Which seems a bit daft to me – what if you were in a basemate and needed to evacuate?!

Let me explain… basically, we’ve found a wedding venue which is really amazing and we both love it. But it’s up two flights of stairs and I have elderly relatives who cannot climb that many stairs. One relative is in a wheelchair and there are another couple of guests who don’t use a chair (yet), but would struggle when faced with that many stairs. We asked the venue about disabled access, they had been thinking about building a lift, but they can’t afford it at the moment. As they’re a small company who require a big change to enable proper disabled access, they can sidestep the disability discrimination act. They did say they were perfectly happy to carry wheelchairs up the stairs, but it isn’t very dignified, especially for someone who doesn’t normally require a chair!

In America there’s a company who sell and hire chairs that have an electronic track on the back of the chair, which can then go up or down stairs. If we could get hold of something like that, manual or electronic, it would solve this problem and allow us to have the venue we want. Does anybody have any suggestions???

3 thoughts on “Portable Lifts / Evacuation Chairs

  1. No, but def the most fun evacuation method I have ever heard of was when I worked at a special school for children with very severe CP.
    They had evacuation slides 😀

  2. When I worked somewhere which has such evac chairs we were banned from using them. Unless we had been fully trained we weren’t to risk ourselves because even if there is no heavy lifting we were still deemed as responsible for carrying people… if we’d dropped someone and they’d carried on sliding down the stairs what would have happened? For practical reasons we still had them but we were advised to just get people to refuge areas. My initial thought is that if we were being advised not to use them in emergencies, then as a method of transport they’re even less to be recommended. My logic is as follows:

    The first point with them is that we were advised they are very difficult to use well and you’re still fundamentally bumping or sliding someone up and down stairs which may cause more harm than good.

    The second point has been hinted at already – I’m not convinced they’re designed as stairlift substitute. They’re not as hard wearing and you’ve already said some don’t go up.

    The third point is about dignity. Stair lifts are already something which people don’t always think are dignified. Would getting friends and relatives to physically manhandle you upstairs leave you feeling dignified? I certainly would NOT feel any level of self respect or dignity if I’d had to be carried upstairs.

    My final point is that if the venue doesn’t have resources for getting people with mobility difficulties upstairs, do they have toilets and hygiene facilities upstairs too? If you have a group of older people present they’ll need to be nipping off every half an hour or so to sort themselves out. If such facilities aren’t in plentiful and accessible that will be a bigger problem than just getting people up and down the stairs.

    I think that if you really want this venue you’d be better off not inviting anyone who can’t cope with the stairs rather than inflict them with the indignity of being carried upstairs. Alternatively you could find a different venue.

  3. I’d go for another venue, otherwise the rellys will think you just didn’t want them at the wedding. (Unless of course that’s true, in which case just brazen it out). Picked a venue for my silver wedding which appeared not to have disabled access – it did, I had checked – rellys who have wheelchair took huff and refused to come because they thought it wasn’t suitable.

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