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Portable ramp guide

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Before you buy a portable ramp, consider the points below:

  • Portable ramps are generally put in position for access to a property or vehicle, and then removed and stored until needed
  • Gradient:
    • The recommended gradient for a portable ramp is 1:12 (approx. 4° gradient). This is suitable for anyone self-propelling or walking up the ramp
    • 1:8 (approx. 7° gradient) can be useful when there will be an assistant pushing the wheelchair or if the person is in a powered wheelchair or scooter
    • 1:6 (approx. 10° gradient) can be acceptable in some situations, but be aware that if a ramp is too short, it may be difficult to use with a wheelchair
  • Pathway: the ground leading to and from the ramp should be stable and level
  • Fitting: check that the person who will be moving the ramp can safely carry and store it and replace it safely in position. Ramp weight varies according to the construction and length. Some have carry handles for ease and safety
  • Threshold ramps: made from metal, plastic or rubber to bridge an internal or external threshold. Some will fit uPVC-raised door thresholds that enable the door to be closed, but most threshold ramps need to be removed for doors to be closed
  • Channel ramps: are two metal or plastic channels with raised edges. These channel ramps are compact for storage as they can be folding or telescopic. They can be lighter than a full-width ramp. They are only for wheelchair access and it can be difficult to line up wheels on the channels
  • Full-width portable ramps: provide a single 76cm/30″ width ramp surface with a raised edge on each side. They are usually metal but can also be reinforced plastic construction. These ramps are designed for access over low steps. Some will fold widthways or lengthways, some have a carrying handle. The weight of the ramps varies according to length and material. The maximum length for a single full-width ramp is 240cm/8ft, which would be suitable for an 8″ step
  • Longer ramps: some companies supply a linking kit which creates portable full-width ramps of up to 16ft/480cm
  • Semi-permanent ramps: some portable ramps can be fixed in place with locating pins or height-adjustable fixing legs to create a semi-permanent ramp. Ensure any door can still be opened and closed/locked with a semi-permanent ramp in position
  • Platforms: some semi-permanent ramp solutions include a flat platform section outside the door, which may be safer for independent use. A level platform is recommended for longer ramps so there are rest areas on the way up and down
  • Obstructions: if using a semi-permanent ramp solution with ground fixings check there are no drains, down pipes or other utilities that will be affected by the ramp
  • Safe working load: check safe working load of the ramp to ensure it can support the person, carer and mobility equipment, particularly if using a powered wheelchair or scooter
  • Vehicle ramps: if choosing a ramp for loading mobility equipment or person in wheelchair into a vehicle always get advice from a specialist supplier to ensure the ramp is safe and suitable for that vehicle. A specialist vehicle may be indicated
  • Local suppliers: see ILC ramp suppliers list