Clearing Your Slippery Ramps
Here in Texas, ice and snow are not often a long-term problem in winter for ramp owners. However, that’s not true for you who live in colder climates this time of year. For those of you use a walker or a wheelchair and use a ramp to enter and exit your home, ice and snow on your ramp can be troublesome.
If you expect to have ice and snow in your area, then it’s good to make some preparations to clear your ramp. A covered ramp is an advantage any time, and won’t demand much maintenance in winter during light precipitation if you are lucky enough to have one.
For an aluminum ramp with a ribbed surface, a shovel will be sufficient to clear off a light dusting of snow. For a wooden ramp, a shovel or a stiff broom will probably take care of that light snowfall.
But when icing occurs, it takes a little more preparation and effort to clear those slippery ramps.
Before it snows
There are chemicals that can be used before it snows and ices to prevent ice and snow build-up on any kind of ramp. One is Liquid Ice Preventer-22 by Amax Industries. It must be used before snow and ice accumulates on a concrete or metal surface. Treatment of slippery ramps with Liquid Ice Preventer-2 can last as long as 14 days in very cold weather.
You can also prepare your wooden or metal ramp ahead of time by applying a gritty, non-skid paint to the ramp surface to cause friction. This kind of paint is available at paint and hardware stores. Making the surface rough can help cause enough traction to keep wheels and shoes from slipping on the ramp.
Of course, there are chemicals which actually melt ice. One is Zero Ice – Ice & Snow Melter. It is a de-icer which can be used in temperatures as low as 0- degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t carpet and concrete surfaces. It also easy on the grass near the area.
Salt is the old stand-by as a de-icer, but its constant application can affect the surface of a metal ramp in the long-term, and it could affect the soil or plants nearby. Salt can damage concrete too, if used constantly. Salt only works to melt ice when the temperature of above 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ice melting agents that contain magnesium chloride or calcium chloride are okay to use on metal or concrete, though they might leave a residue on surfaces.
Substances such as cat litter, sand and ashes can give you some traction on slippery ramps. However, most people don’t like anyone tracking these substances indoors on shoes or wheels.
Making a temporary path
Let’s say you are visiting a place which does not prepare the sidewalks or parking lot for walker or wheelchair users. What can you do to create a temporary safe path to the entrance of the building? The property owner may not welcome you if you plan to dump a bag of cat litter there. They might not want to clean it up later, and they might not like litter tracked in on the wheels or the shoes that come inside.
One possibility is to carry a stack of roofing shingles in your car’s trunk. With the gritty rough side of the shingle down on the slippery surface, make a path of shingles over the slippery ramps surface to the door. The wheelchair and walker users can roll right over those slippery spots on top of the shingles. The shingles can be taken up and stored away when not in use. Using this method means lifting and bending frequently, and that may not be easy for the caregiver, especially on slippery surfaces and out in the cold.
It would be a lot safer for visitors if the property owner would get someone out there to shovel the sidewalk and clear the parking area. Why not call ahead before you go to see if your wheelchair user can get safe access to the building in snowy weather?
If you have chosen to use one of our E-Z Access skid-resistant ramps at your house, you will find that you have very little clean- up to do after a snowstorm.
Why? Because the ramps are removable! You can remove them and take them indoors whenever you expect a snowstorm. With the Advantage Suitcase Ramp or the Tri-Fold Ramp, you can take up the ramp and fold it up into two lightweight parts, each with a handle. Take it indoors during the snowstorm, and put it back outdoors when you need it.
If the ramp does get wet or accumulate snow while outdoors, then use a stiff broom to wipe off the skid-resistant surface. You can fold the ramp up and store it in your garage or porch while it dries off. These are truly the most carefree ramps there are!
This winter, please stay safe and healthy with a clear ramp at your house.