ADAPTS Helps Wheelchair Users in Evacuations

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Photo of the ADAPTS Logo, the text is black and has a figure of a wheelchair user. The text reads "ADAPTS A Disabled Passenger Transfer Sling"Written by: Robin Wearley, PA-C. MSc

Emergencies happen. Having a plan during an evacuation is key for survival. Every second counts.

Airlines currently have no good plan for evacuating passengers who use wheelchairs. As a flight attendant it has always concerned me when a wheelchair traveler was brought onboard the airplane on an aisle chair. This meant they had no use of their legs and would need an evacuation plan tailored to their needs in the event of an emergency, but “grab & go” was all we could offer. Fast forward to today, and nothing has changed since I was a crewmember. So, I invented a solution. I call the device ADAPTS which is an acronym for A Disabled Passenger Transfer Sling.A diagram showing how the ADAPTS sling works on an airplane.

Ask anybody…wheelchair user or not…if they know what the plan is for getting a disabled passenger out of an airplane after an accident. I guarantee 95% of the time you will get the “deer in the headlights look” and a response like, “I hadn’t thought about it!” Flying has become so safe, which is great, but in the process, many have taken for granted that every take off and every landing will be uneventful. But what if it’s not? This is where ADAPTS comes to the rescue.

But ADAPTS doesn’t stop at the airplane door. It is designed to be portable for travel, so in the event of an evacuation in a hotel or cruise ship, ADAPTS is with you for family and neighbors to help bring wheelchair users to first responders without waiting. In the event of any emergency or disaster, ADAPTS is a piece of live-saving equipment that should be in every household survival kit. ADAPTS goes anywhere a wheelchair can’t—through flooding after hurricanes, over rubble after earthquakes, and to swiftly escape wildfires.A woman is sitting on an airplane seat with the ADAPTS sling beneath her talking to a flight attendant.


ADAPTS has an active Kickstarter campaign, you can read more about it and back the campaign here.

ADAPTS will be holding a webinar with Ability Tools tomorrow 12/6/2017 at 10:00 AM (PST). To register for the webinar, click here.

Robin Wearley, PA-C, MSc is a retired Flight Attendant and Cardiovascular Physician Assistant with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior & Leadership and a Master of Science in Health Communication.

Her experiences in the travel and healthcare industries were instrumental in helping her identify the unmet safety need addressed by ADAPTS™: ensuring a safe, comfortable evacuation method for people with disabilities.

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