Empowering Accessibility: Making a Difference with Evacuation Chairs

Image of Giana holding a rainbow painting in front of her. She is smiling and sitting in her Quantum Rehab power wheelchair with iLevel seat elevation technology.

I am so excited to share that a project I have been working on has moved to the next step! After my experience at EmpowHer camp last summer,I decided that my year-long project would be to try to get evacuation chairs in my school – and hopefully other places in the community. The idea behind this project came from an experience during my sixth-grade year, where a power outage caused the elevator to stop working. The school called the fire department and a number of unfamiliar firemen had to carry me down three flights of stairs. This made me nervous and uncomfortable. There had to be a better way!

Realizing the Need:

At EmpowHer camp last summer we discussed emergency plans for disabled people. Throughout those conversations I realized the importance of safe exit plans for people with mobility limitations. I started planning my project with some help from my mentor.

Taking Action:

First, I began by sending emails to the principal and board of education. Before I got a response from the BOE, I sent 3 additional emails to my principal saying how important getting the evacuation chairs is for our school. I knew these chairs could help many people in my school as well as other schools in our district.

A Big Breakthrough:

Something exciting happened a few days ago. I was called into the principal’s office. At first I was nervous because I thought I was in trouble. Just when I expected the worst, the principal said she heard about my project and explained that she ordered the chairs! She asked if I could speak about them at the board of education meeting next month. I’ll be sure to get a video and post an update in the future. I’m also going to make a video to show OTs and PTs how to properly use the chairs.

The Power of a Single Voice:

I couldn’t believe that she had already ordered the chairs, I was so excited when I got the news. I ‘m nervous about speaking at the board meeting, but I know that it’s all for a good cause. One small voice can make a big difference!

Stay tuned for my next update.


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