Mobility scooter storage reducing fire hazards at sheltered housing
The value of installing well-designed storage for mobility scooters has been highlighted by recent redevelopments at a sheltered housing block in Westminster.
Residents in sheltered housing often have a disability or medical condition that means they are reliant on mobility scooters. As with any electrical equipment, unfortunately there is a risk of fire associated with these devices, which is often made even greater because many do not comply with relevant BS/EN standards. Therefore, it is vital that mobility scooter storage is designed with both safety and utility in mind.
A great example of this is at Glastonbury House in Pimlico, where residents previously had to park their mobility scooters outside their front doors in the 22-storey sheltered housing block, which created a fire hazard. This situation couldn’t be allowed to continue because after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, laws to prevent obstructions on communal landings in blocks of flats were reinforced. As a result, things soon changed at Glastonbury House when offices on the ground floor were converted to a garage for up to 20 scooters, complete with allocated parking bays and charging points.
Jean Broadrick, a resident of Glastonbury House who uses the store, said: “I think the storage is a fantastic idea. It’s a really nice and clean space and the bays all have their own charging sockets. It’s also handy because I can’t carry anything heavy; so, I can go up to drop off my shopping in my flat, then store my scooter in here. It also makes me feel safe and secure because I can understand the fire safety reasons for not keeping scooters upstairs, and the store is fob access only. I’m really pleased with the safety and security here.”
This example clearly underlines the importance of accessibility, utility, security and safety to users of mobility scooter stores. Of course, in many cases there isn’t internal space suitable for conversion but with the appropriate planning and design in such situations, external scooter stores can be installed that have the potential to improve the quality of life of residents in sheltered housing and also reduce fire risk.