There is a somewhat color-coded system with these chairs that is helpful in reminding us where the functional parts are.
RED – switches, clips and bars in red are for releasing/locking/adjusting the movable parts of the chair.
GREEN – straps used to secure the person to the chair to provide safe transport; chest/hips/ankles.
Steps to operating the chair:
- Pull open the chair into its sitting position. This is the one step in which there is no “red” lock to be undone.
- Engage Brakes – red clips on each rear wheel lock the chair when pressed down and release when lifted up.
- Release Handle – the first red bar going top down will unlock the “U” shaped bar used to control the chair going down the stairs. Lift the u-shaped handle to give head clearance.
- Seat Person – have the person sit in the chair. If unconscious, immobilize head with duct tape or something similar as black strap for that purpose doesn’t work really well. Secure them in using the green straps. When at all possible secure their ankles to chair, this prevents them kicking out and injuring the person in front of the chair helping to move it down and to help keep the chair stable. Make sure straps are secured snuggly and all loose ends secured so they don’t interfere with the operation.
- Release the brakes – With your toe, flip the red clip on each wheel to release the brake.
- Moving along a flat surface – At the point where the u-shaped bar connects to the chair, there are 2 red buttons. These buttons release the handles at the back of the chair and allow the person to push the chair around like a wheelchair. Pull up on the handles to lock them into position. To return, press on red button and push handles down into storage position. Best not to have the handles out while moving down the stairs as they could injure the rear operator.
- Preparing to go down the stairs – Pull the middle red bar to release the “tracks” into position. This allows the chair to move down the stairs smoothly and keeps most of the weight on the stairs and not having to be supported by the operators moving the chair and its cargo.
- Down the stairs – Position an operator in front of the chair on the stairs; release the handles at the bottom front wheels by pressing on the red button and pulling out. The person in this position will be pulling “up” on these handles to help transfer the weight onto the stairs and control the descent. The rear operator should grab (underhand recommended) the U-shaped bar, push the chair forward and engage the tracks on the first stair by pulling on the bar and tilting the chair back. Then as a team control the descent of the chair down the stairs. At this point the person sitting in the chair should have their hands and arms tucked in. This can be best accomplished sometimes by having them hold onto something; a bag on their lap, the buckles they are strapped in with, something so that they don’t reach out and tip the chair over.
- Putting the Chair away – Once the goal location has been reached, release the green buckles and help the person exit the chair. Gather the straps up so that they don’t become entangled. Push the red buttons to return the bottom handles to their storage position. Lift up on the top red bar to push the u-shaped bar back into place. Pull on the lowest red bar to release the seat so it can be folded back up again into its storage position.