Public events should be accessible for everyone, including individuals who use a personal mobility device. The purpose of advertising events is to draw a large crowd. Events that are not accessible discount a large sector of the public. The following six tips will assist event planners to accommodate all invitees.
- Select an Accessible Venue: Selecting a proper venue that will accommodate mobility devices is the first step in planning. Tour the venue in advance to evaluate the facility. Seek a venue with ramps, elevators, accessible bathrooms, wide aisles or sidewalks. The right venue will save costs and preparation.
- Address Mobility Needs: Include a statement addressing the issue of mobility in the advertisement or pre-registration packet. Appoint a contact person to address accommodation needs. Include a contact phone number or e-mail address for patrons to call in advance if accommodations are required.
- Investigate Local Lodging Facilities: Visit local inns and hotels to investigate lodging facilities if the event will require overnight stays. Information concerning inns and hotels that are accessible should be included in the pre-registration packet, especially if the event is two days or more in length.
- Explore Parking Space: Does the facility provide ample accessible parking? Examine the path from the parking lot to the building for accessibility. Consider providing a shuttle from the parking lot to the building, if the distance is too far. The shuttle should accommodate mobility devices.
- Furniture Placement and Accommodations: People with mobility devices should be able to maneuver easily throughout the facility. Furniture placement should preserve wide aisles. Accommodations should allow participants to engage in the event independently.
- Accommodate Presenters: The needs of presenters should also be considered. A presenter with a mobility device may require a ramp to move on stage. A stable chair should be available for presenters with walkers or canes. Podiums should be adjustable for presenters with wheelchairs or scooters.
(Photo courtesy of “SeaGate on the Sidewalk Out Front,” by Counselman Collection at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)