I am a wheelchair user of many years, and I travel a lot. A lot, a lot, compared to most of my chair-riding brothers and sisters. I fly just under once a month and, of course, there are many issues that come up, not the least of which is, “How do I get off the plane in case of emergency?” The ADAPTS portable transfer sling has answered my questions and allayed my concerns on multiple levels. Jolene Montgomery
How Can ADAPTS Save Your Life?
A simple, yet brilliant survival tool invented by a seasoned flight attendant, ADAPTS is a bright yellow lifting device with handles. If I am on a plane, I unfurl this sturdy cover and sit on it. In case of emergency: 1) Everybody knows I need help. I’m sitting on a bright yellow conversation piece for cryinoutloud! 2) People around me have been warned. The yellow mat has given me a reason to recruit people already, some to grab the top handles, some to grab the bottom, or some to opt out ahead of time. My goal is to find people who will volunteer to take me TO the first responders, eliminating the anxious wait for them to find ME!
ADAPTS Mitigates Dangerous Scenarios for People with Disabilities
To underscore the necessity of ADAPTS, allow me to regale one of my pre-ADAPTS flight experiences: As usual I was the first one on the airplane. I have my little stump speech that I pitch to those who share my aisle. I say, “I know you can’t tell, but I’m paralyzed from the waist down. So, you can rest assured I won’t be trying to step over you to get to the bathroom!” Implicit in that speech is, “So if this plane crashes, you are helping rescue me, right…?” I have always thought, though, “How is this guy going to get me out of here?
When it came time to deplane, I found that because there were four other people using the aisle chair on that airplane, it took an hour and 15 minutes before it was my turn. Worried about emergency procedures, I asked the flight attendant, “What happens if there are several of us who need an aisle chair to deplane?” Her response was, “Oh we are trained to take up to 15 disabled people on each flight.”
Now that’s just chilling. On that particular flight, it took them 75 minutes to deplane four clients with disabilities. Per air safety rules, every airline must be able to deplane any passenger in no more than 90 seconds.
Let’s do the math: the rule says 90 seconds; the facts show that they take 18.75 minutes. That leaves a lot of dead paralyzed people, plus a lot of compromised flight attendants since, as one flight attendant said to me, “We are like the captains. We are the last to leave. We go down with the ship.”
I said, “Chilling.” I meant it.
ADAPTS Call to Action for Increased Airline Safety
It was right after this flight that I was introduced to ADAPTS. On a cruise, in an airplane or when I am staying on the 27 th floor of my hotel, I have this bright yellow tool with me. Granted, it just looks like a lumbar support, but if I need to be rescued from any of these situations, I can get to safety in record time. (And without going “Bump, bump, bump down the stairs” like Winnie-the-Pooh.) Even if the airlines don’t supply ADAPTS, I am going to travel with my own, whether it is on an airplane, a cruise ship, or just if I am staying at a friend’s house and I need a reliable exit strategy.
Visit the ADAPTS Team at Naidex stand #9164 for a live demo!