This is it folks. Enjoy the last few days of summer. Yes, we know that school has been in for several weeks now. But, as of this Monday, September 23rd, the summer season will officially transition into fall. Of course, this isn’t news that most Canadians need. Chillier temperatures have already set in across the country. And that has most people thinking about one thing – winter is coming!
There’s no such thing as “too early” to prepare for the winter. This is especially true if you have mobility issues that are aided by the use of a wheelchair. Practicing winter wheelchair safety is a must. Let’s take a look a few important tips, shall we?
Put together an emergency kit.
Whenever venturing outdoors in your wheelchair, during the winter months, it’s certainly wise to carry along a care package, of sorts. You never know if your wheelchair may endure some rough terrain, get overly wet or simply lose juice. Therefore, an emergency kit complete with extra clothes, snacks, drinks and extra batteries is a great thing to bring along with you on each and every excursion.
“Create your very own at home emergency kit,” advises Roland Reznik of KD Smart Chair, “Pack bottled water, blankets, socks, two fully-charged batteries for your wheelchair, canned food and keep your cellular phone charged at all times. You will also want to make a first aid kit part of your home emergency kit.”
Get winter tires.
What do Canadian car drivers to every single winter? The vast majority of them change their all-season tires to those of the winter variety. The reason why is because winter tires are known for their ability to maintain better traction on cold and wet surfaces. Safety first is the name of the game. The same practice of changing tires should be adopted by wheelchair users to maximize their safety during the wintertime.
“Keep a set of knobby winter tires on your wheelchair during the winter,” recommends Ziggi Landsman of the United Spinal Association, “If you use a manual wheelchair then keep an extra set of quick mount wheels with snow tires mounted on them handy. Pop them on as needed and get a bit of a rolling edge. If you’re wishing you could get a set of studded tires on your chair, you can.”
Make yourself as visible as possible.
During the winter, it gets dark as early as 5:30 p.m. Whenever you leave the house, be sure to make yourself as clearly visible as you can so that when the sun goes down, you’re still easily seen. As Landsman notes, many sidewalks don’t get cleared of snow before nightfall. You don’t want to be in a situation where you get stuck and are hard for other people to spot.
“Try this to improve being seen,” recommends Landsman, “Get your hands on a number of small battery operated lights and do a temporary mount with Velcro, wire ties, small clamps, to each side of your wheelchair. Give others a chance to see you first.”
If you have any questions about the wheelchairs offered by LifeCare Mobility Solutions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at [email protected]. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!