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November 10, 2011  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Focused on occupant safety

Ricon Corp.’s K and S Series wheelchair lifts feature an interlocked restraint belt, as well as barriers to prevent excessive rolling on the platform. The company offers training for operators and technicians.

by Brittany-Marie Swanson

Ricon suggests that its lifts be loaded with the wheelchair facing out of the bus, so the battery of the chair is at the back of the lift.

Ricon suggests that its lifts be loaded with the wheelchair facing out of the bus, so the battery of the chair is at the back of the lift.

For 40 years, Ricon Corp. has been designing, manufacturing and installing wheelchair lifts and ramps for a variety of vehicles, including school buses.

Currently, Ricon offers two series of lifts for the school bus market: the S Series and the K Series. These lifts are lightweight, and both come equipped with the company's patented interlocked occupant restraint belt; the K Series — also called KlearVue — provides an unobstructed view through the bus' windows due to its folding platform design.

To learn more about Ricon's wheelchair lifts for the school bus industry, SBF spoke with Tony Ward, sales manager for Ricon.

Lifts have a 'safety zone'
Safety is a No. 1 priority for Ricon, Ward says.

"Our lifts feature what we call a Ricon safety zone, which encapsulates the passenger on the lift's platform before they ever leave the ground," Ward explains.

The safety zone includes front and rear barriers on the lift platform and 3.75-inch-high barriers on each side of the platform to prevent a mobility device from rolling off the lift.

In addition, the interlocked restraint belt must be secured before the lift will operate.

"A lot of the new wheelchairs have joysticks that are used to move them around. In the lift, if an occupant hits the joystick, that belt will stop them from rolling off the lift," Ward explains.

Operators, technicians need training
When planning to operate a Ricon lift, "make sure that the operators are up-to-date on training," Ward advises. "Making sure that the operators have taken the course and know what they are supposed to be doing is a key component."

"You need to make sure that the equipment is properly maintained by a trained technician," Ward adds. "Ricon offers technician training."

The training for both operators and technicians is available online, as a video or in a live seminar.

Ricon's K Series lifts provide an unobstructed view out of the bus' windows due to the folding platform design.
<p>Ricon's K Series lifts provide an unobstructed view out of the bus' windows due to the folding platform design.</p>

During training, attendees become certified to perform all aspects of maintenance for both the S Series and K Series wheelchair lifts. The training also covers basic to advanced maintenance procedures that are intended to increase the life of a lift.

Wheelchairs should be loaded facing outward
Ricon suggests that wheelchairs or mobility devices be loaded facing outward.

"For maximum safety, Ricon requires that passengers always face outward," Ward explains. "This is due to variations in the size and configuration of mobility aids."

For instance, the back of a mobility aid — where the battery is located — is often the heaviest part of the device. For this reason, it should be nearest to the bus.

Ward also urges lift operators to stay on the ground, rather than get on the lift with the occupant.

"The weight limit for the standard lift is 800 pounds," he says. "Depending on what wheelchair or motorized cart you have, they can reach weights of 300 or 400 pounds. And so, depending on the occupant, you really could exceed that limit if you put someone else on the platform."

Many options are available
Ward says the company's K and S Series lifts are available in many platform sizes that can accommodate any size mobility aid.

"You want a safe lift that is going to be easy for the operator to use and easy for the shop to maintain," he says. "Ricon's S and K Series lifts have been a school bus industry standard for 40 years."

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how come the stundet help the wheel chair with the tie downs

heather storch    |    Feb 05, 2013 10:09 AM

My daugter is in a wheelchair from birth. On 11-11-11 coming home from school the lift on her school bus fell down hill while she was on it, the safety belt caught her by the neck and she was hanging the with her weight and the weight of her chair. The lift had been acting up for months and the school would not take it to a certified technician, when i showed a picture of the faulty lift to a certified ricon technician he said it was the result of lack of and or poor maintenance.The driver was standing inside the bus and could not reach my daughter, thankfully I was standing there and was able to puch the chair back to get the belt off my daughters neck, they then pulled her back onto the bus.The school then proceeded to tell me they would still not have a certified ricon tech to repair the lift, hiding behind the law stating that Ohio state law does not require them to have it repaired by a certified tech. Parents with chilren riding these buses, please find out who is repairing your child lift on there bus, my daughter could have been killed and the school wanted to know why I'm making such a big deal out of this. I contacted ohio state Rep. Ron Gerberry(614-466-6107) to get this put into Law to require schools to use certified technicians to repair and inspect our childrens wheelchair lifts on school buses. We cannot rely on the schools to protech or children, wde must stand up for them. Ann

Ann Reed    |    Dec 13, 2011 01:06 PM

And i wanted to no are you allowed to use you amber lights at a railroad track?

kiante    |    Nov 18, 2011 08:00 PM

Hello i am in training to become a new bus driver and i wanted to no when are the only time are you allow to use your amber lights ?

kiante    |    Nov 18, 2011 07:57 PM

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