It’s High Time We Dealt with Falls

Posted on in Product and Service Solutions

Society has tackled the world’s great public health challenges, often with remarkable success. How is it that “death by falling down” isn’t one of them?

By Rob Geller, Promenaid Handrails

Education, legislation, and technology have been particularly effective in reducing the toll of accidental death and injury. A prime example: Motor vehicle fatalities have been in decline for more than 40 years. Seatbelts alone have saved more than 330,000 lives in the United States since they were made mandatory in 1968.

Meanwhile, the rate of injury from falls has risen alarmingly. Last year, for the first time, more people in America died (and five times more were hospitalized) from falls than from car accidents.

Motor Vehicle Deaths – USA

Accidental Falls Deaths – USA

Among seniors, falls account for more accidental deaths than all other causes combined. Three of four occur in or around the home.

A few simple, yet often overlooked steps can make a big difference:

  1. Improve lighting.
  2. Remove tripping hazards.
  3. Install proper handrails on both sides of stairs.

What is a Proper Handrail?

According to the International Residential Code, adopted in 49 of 50 states, handrails for stairways must be continuous for the full length of the flight. The ends must return to the wall or terminate at posts.

As important as the continuity is the graspability. Type I handrails must have the equivalent of a round cross-section between 1-1/4 inches and 2 inches in diameter. Type II handrails can have a larger profile with an indentation for the fingers. Both are allowed in single-family homes, townhouses, and within most apartment and condo units.

But, studies have shown that the “pinch grip” of a Type II handrail is five times weaker than the “power grip” of a round Type I handrail. For safety and mobility, Type I is the only option.

Type II handrail pinch grip - will not prevent a fall

Type I handrail power grip - 5X stronger

Anatomy of a Functional Handrail

Proper handrails are required in public places because they are as beneficial in buildings as seatbelts are in cars. So, why is it that these handrails are a rarity in the homes where statistics tell us they are needed most?

Simply put, code-compliant commercial handrails are too expensive, too hard to install, and, in most cases, aesthetically unsuitable for home use.

For the 45 million Americans with mobility challenges or at risk of falls, new technology has changed all that.

Promenaid is a revolutionary advance in handrail technology, marrying the benefits of proper handrail with reasonable cost, ease of installation, and aesthetics that compliment home décor. The modular design features clip-in brackets and ADA-style endcaps, and adjustable elbows to maintain continuity around any bend or angle change. Overview video

The modularity also creates never-before-seen efficiencies and benefits. The entire process from specing to ordering, shipping, and installing can be completed in 24 hours. And, to ease the dealer’s inventory management and cash flow, orders are typically shipped within 1 – 2 business days, and there is no minimum.

Functional Handrail in the Home

To paraphrase a famous bear, “Only you can prevent falls.” For the CAPS builder and accessibility dealer, Promenaid is a new and profitable source of revenue and the best way to comply with the new code while at the same time meeting all the needs of the homeowner. Including possibly saving their life.

For more information about Promenaid, contact Rob Geller at [email protected] or toll-free (888) 992-4943 x101.