Sticking to the theme of accessible buildings, today I want to speak about lifts. A bit of a tedious subject like ramps but again, highly important in my life. If these machines didn’t exist, ‘Wheelchair Boy’ wouldn’t get up to any ‘Adventures’ thus I wouldn’t have anything interesting to blog about (some would say I don’t anyway). Able-bodied people can sometimes take walking for granted and see elevators as a bit of a luxury. That’s fine but they’re a necessity for me. Having to use the stairs because the lift is broke is a pain and sometimes you can’t be bothered. However, I am screwed without a lift because stairs are obviously not an option.
As you all know, I’m looking to move out but a flat above ground floor is not suitable because if the fire alarm goes off (which is likely in a block of flats), I’m stuck. I have been carried downstairs before when a lift broke (by a teacher in France) but I was only 14 and I weighed nothing compared to now. It would probably take two men (not being sexist) to carry me and even then, they’d have to be careful because of my back. So, having to depend on a lift is a no go.
Another problem with lifts in an emergency is that I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that wheelchair users must wait and be evacuated from a building last. People might as well say “you’re the least important so it’s OK if you get burned to death”. No one would accept that so why is it implied. I’ve heard (can’t remember where) that if the fire alarm sounds, disabled people are put in a cupboard until it’s safe to come out.
These are the worst-case scenarios but what annoys me the most are places that don’t even bother with a lift. Gone are the days where a shop could argue a building is too old for an elevator to be installed. Platform lifts are not complicated and can be fitted anywhere (even in a basement nightclub in Benedorm) so the argument that a lift will involve building work is rubbish. The Next store in St. Albans used to say the building is listed and a lift can’t be put in. Now Jones Bootmaker owns the very same building, a lift has suddenly appeared. I’m not going to accept the ‘listed’ argument in the future.
Who wants to know the real reason why I’ve decided to write a post about lifts? No one? Fair enough.
Only joking, the answer is Dragons Den. I was watching the first episode of the new series on Sunday and instead of the entrepreneurs entering via stairs, a lift has been installed. I was shocked as it’s quite a positive move. I know it wasn’t put in with access in mind but it leads the way and gives an example that places should change. Who knows, they might put a lift in the Big Brother house soon.
Here is my latest post on Fans Viewpoint: http://fansviewpoint.com/premier-predictions-1/
Bye for now!