How to Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage (Infographic)

Businesses can experience many emergency situations. As such, there may be a number of contingency plans in place—but do you have a plan for what to do in a power outage? Here’s how to prepare your business so that you can continue operating safely.

Ensuring that your staff has proper training and the safety and medical equipment they need can be a great help in the event that a power outage strikes. Training should assign a role to each employee, and all should participate in regular emergency drills for a seamless transition in an outage.

A backup power source will be absolutely essential to continue operations during a power outage. This includes gas or diesel generators, as well as battery backups for computers. Vital data and records should be backed up regularly and stored at an off-site location so they can be accessed in an emergency.

Items like smoke detectors, fully ADA-compliant tactile surfaces and emergency lighting should all be present to ensure all who work in your facility can continue to do so safely.

There are many ways to protect your business in the event of a power outage. For more great tips, check out this detailed infographic from ADA Solutions.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage (Infographic)

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A businessman talking with a client who is visually impaired

Our language is continually changing to encompass new ideas and express our evolving perspectives. Sometimes this happens organically and, other times, by deliberate changes we make when we become aware that our habitual language is not in line with our respectful intentions.

Almost all of us want to show respect for the people with whom we live and work. Staying in touch with the latest ADA guidelines and recommendations for disability language is a great way to stay up-to-date in your signage, social media, and written communications. These tips may also help you feel more comfortable speaking with everyone you encounter.

Let’s explore why the words we choose matter so much, the idea of “person-first” language, some basic disability etiquette, and conversational strategies that will help you feel more comfortable and confident that your language is communicating the respect you intend.

The Power of the Words We Choose

In the past, the language surrounding people with disabilities often defined or pre-judged the individual by the nature of their condition. The problem is widespread, impacting the one in five Americans who have a disability.1 Language that is biased toward these people perpetuates old and negative stereotypes about these individuals.

When we define people by who they are and what they accomplish, rather than the physical or mental situations they face, we empower them to contribute and enrich our communities and our culture. Our socially aware and inclusive language should value people as parents, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and friends.

Language Can Be an Obstacle

One negative example is the word “handicapped.” This word is no longer considered a respectful term to apply to a person. A handicap is an obstacle that blocks, limits, or restrains a person, and the word should not be used as an identifier for a person or group. A disability, on the other hand, is a condition a person may have that is caused by trauma, genetics, or disease.

So, instead of saying “Roberta is a handicapped artist,” we would say “Roberta is an artist who has a disability.” Or we could simply say “Roberta is an artist” in any case where Roberta’s disability is not relevant to the topic at hand.

There is even an untrue story about the origin of the term “handicapped” that links it to being a person who holds out their cap for charity. So, while official documentation and signage are slowly being updated, removing this word from your business and personal vocabulary may be a good first step in deliberately changing your language.

What Is “People-First” Language?

A woman talking with a man who is a wheelchair user

Most of us have experienced demeaning language at one time or another. Labeling someone based on outward appearance or unique physical attributes is known to be hurtful and bullying, and we can empathize with others who face this kind of biased and limiting language on a daily basis.

People are individuals and deserve to be mentioned before or instead of their possible disabilities. Using disability language that puts the people first, then mentioning their disabilities when appropriate, is the preferred and recommended language according to ADA guidelines and documents.2

Some examples of person-first language include saying:

  • “A child with autism” instead of “an autistic child”
  • “A person who is blind” rather than “a blind person”
  • “A teenager with a learning disability” in contrast to “a special-needs student”
  • “A person who is disabled or uses a wheelchair” instead of “a handicapped person”
  • “Customers with limited mobility” versus “disabled customers”

Another way to put the person first is to ask for their preferred terms and listen to their personal preferences regarding how they refer to themselves or want to be addressed. Every person’s past history and current perspective is unique, and which phrases are perceived as respectful and inclusive language varies accordingly.

Words and Phrases that May Be Offensive

Disability language and habits that may be offensive to some individuals:

  • Focusing on or mentioning the disability when it is not relevant to the topic or the situation.
  • Discussing or raising the expectation that all people with disabilities must be heroic, brave, or inspiring.
  • Using dramatic words to describe disabilities, including phrases like “suffers from,” “afflicted with,” “confined to,” “crippled by,” or “victim of.”
  • Lumping together groups defined only by a disability; for example, “the deaf” or “the autistic.”
  • The use of made-up or possibly patronizing phrases such as “differently abled” or “physically inconvenienced.”

So, What Is the Right Thing to Say to a Person with a Disability?

Talk to people who have disabilities as an active listener and with respect, which is also good advice for most conversations. There is no reason to twist and contort your language or avoid common phrases like “Did you see” or “Did you hear” or “Let’s run to the store” in the company of these individuals. Disability etiquette is about valuing people for who they are, rather than focusing on the conditions they have.

What is helpful when speaking to people with low vision, blindness, or difficulty hearing is to change your language to replace the visual or auditory clues they may miss. For example, to a person with blindness, instead of saying “The door is right over there,” say “It is the second door on your right, as you continue down the hall.”

Unfortunately, when we are unsure how to speak to someone without offending them, there is a tendency to avoid contact. This is the opposite of the intention. An essential part of good communication is not fearing a well-intentioned mistake. All participants in a conversation have a responsibility to help each other connect. Choose words that you feel comfortable with and be open to honest feedback from those with whom you speak. These tips are equally helpful in almost all social encounters.

Respecting the Needs of People with Disabilities

A woman and a man who is a wheelchair user having coffee together

There are some other situations where you might wonder about the etiquette of offering assistance or engaging with people who have limited mobility or a disability. Your good intentions can be more clearly understood when you:3

  • Offer assistance, wait for a response, and follow requests or instructions from the other person. Avoid physically assisting them without their agreement, and follow their specific instructions when doing so.
  • If someone’s speaking voice is difficult for you to understand, resist the temptation to pretend that you do. Instead, ask them to repeat themselves or to write down the words you do not understand.
  • Schedule events and meetings with the needs of all attendees in mind. Make sure the event area is accessible and that there are adequate breaks scheduled and accessible restrooms. Provide interpreters as needed, and offer information in both visual and audio formats.
  • Ask about and offer accommodations for anyone and everyone who is attending your event or visiting your business and home, regardless of whether they have a visually discernible disability or not. By doing so, you make it easy for people to ask for what they need to be safe and comfortable.
  • Remember that mobility devices such as wheelchairs are part of someone’s personal space. Avoid grabbing a wheelchair without asking, leaning on it, or otherwise infringing on a person’s freedom of movement without asking.
  • Service animals are highly trained to focus on their work. Avoid distracting them and do not speak to the animals, offer them food, or pet them without the person’s permission.
  • Address people directly and at eye level when possible. Even if they have a caregiver or interpreter, make eye contact and speak to them personally. Sitting or crouching to speak to a person who uses a wheelchair will help prevent neck strain and make it easier to see eye to eye.

Making Yourself More Accessible

Making these kinds of intentional changes in how you communicate and engage with people who have disabilities is a benefit for you as well. You literally become more accessible and easier to talk to, work with, and get to know. You will meet people with unique perspectives and truly engage them as neighbors, friends, and regular customers.

Learning more about inclusive language and the ADA guidelines for both physical accessibility and creating a welcoming environment for those with disabilities is a personally rewarding action that also makes the lives of those around you better. At ADA Solutions, Inc., we are committed to helping individuals, nonprofits, and businesses become fully accessible and fully engaged in our communities. Contact us today to learn more about this topic and how to evaluate your home, business, or facility for ADA-accessibility improvements.


A rusty Brodie helmet from WW1.

Since the 1900s, the way in which disability is perceived and treated has changed dramatically. For example, sidewalk truncated domes are now standard in cities, and those with disabilities now enjoy inclusive workplaces and communities. Join us as we take a look back at the history of disability rights.

The 1900s

The early 19th century saw new attempts at the resolution of disability with asylums and segregated schools. During this time, many institutions were established in both Europe and North America for individuals with blindness, deafness, and other physical and intellectual disabilities.

Disabilities were also better able to be treated during this time, thanks to the development of the differential diagnosis. New methods of education and interventions for treatment were also devised during this century.

1918 was the year that Congress passed a rehabilitation program for soldiers, due to the large numbers of WW1 veterans who returned from the war disabled. The rehabilitation program was the first of its kind. One year later, the Ohio Society for Crippled Children, which would become the Easter Seals organization, was founded.

The 1920s

The 1920s would see contrasting developments occurring in the realm of disability rights. In 1925, Samuel Orton began an extensive study of dyslexia, based on his hypothesis that the condition might be neurological and not visual.

An unfortunate development occurred in 1925 when it was ruled by the Supreme Court that the compulsory sterilization of those with mental illness was constitutional, albeit under careful state safeguards. It may come as a great surprise to many that this ruling has yet to be overturned.

In 1925, the respiratory muscle paralysis experienced by those with polio would soon be able to be treated with that year’s invention of the iron lung, which provided artificial respiration.

The 1930s

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered from polio, would become America’s 32nd president. Soon after, he would help to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which is now known as the March of Dimes. The California Council for the Blind would be formed in 1934 and, the next year, Roosevelt would sign the Social Security Act, which would begin providing permanent assistance to disabled adults.

The 1940s

Rosemary Kennedy would undergo a failed lobotomy in 1941, after which she would be moved to a Wisconsin school for exceptional children. Rosemary’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver would later found the Special Olympics in her honor.

New York City’s Dr. Howard A. Rusk would found the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1948. His theories would become the basis for all types of rehabilitation medicine and address the social, psychological, and emotional aspects of living with disabilities.

The 1950s

This decade would see the beginning of the “barrier-free movement” by a combined force of disabled veterans and individuals, along with organizations such as the National Easter Seals Society and the Veterans Administration. As a result of their combined efforts, national standards for barrier-free buildings and safer walkways with truncated domes would eventually be developed.

Parents of children with what was then referred to as mental retardation would begin the work of changing public perception of the condition with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). The organization would ensure that all diagnosed with mental retardation would receive the support they needed to thrive in all American communities.

The 1960s

A wheelchair ramp.

The 1960s would prove to be a dynamic and intense time for the disabled. The accessibility and usability of buildings would be in the spotlight in 1961 when the first accessibility standard would be published. By 1973, accessibility legislation would be adopted by 49 states.

A young Ed Roberts, who suffered from polio, was denied admission into the University of California, Berkeley in 1962. He would fight this decision and become the first person to be enrolled. The efforts of Roberts and other disabled students would result in the formation of the Independent Living Movement and the establishment of the first Center for Independent Living.

In 1963, an act would pass that would see money set aside for the development of councils, protection, advocacy, and university centers for all with disabilities. Two years later, Medicaid would be created. The Architectural Barriers act of 1968 would mandate that all buildings be made accessible to those with disabilities.

The 1970s

Wheelchair-bound Judy Heumann would file and settle a lawsuit in 1971 because of being denied a teaching license by New York City’s Board of Education. She would then become an activist and later found the Independent Living Movement with Ed Roberts. Also that year, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 would make it illegal for any federally funded public institution to discriminate based on disability.

In 1974, the first convention for the national organization People First would be held in Oregon. That same year, the last law which allowed police to arrest and place in jail anyone demonstrating an apparent disability, also called an “ugly law,” was repealed in Chicago.

The final years of the 70s would see protests by disability demonstrators, the development of the Education Fest for disabled Hispanic children, and the establishment of the National Council on Disability.

The 1980s

The first three years of the 1980s would include the Department of Justice being given the power to sue any residential or treatment institutions that violated the rights of disabled persons in their care.

Also at this time, global equality and full participation of disabled persons would be encouraged by the UN, the National Organization on Disability would be founded, and a national campaign would begin to make public transportation accessible. This would lead to accessible housing being mandated and a new act that would prohibit air carriers from discrimination against disability.

The 1990s

President George H. W. Bush would sign the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990. It would bring together all disability supporters, advocates, and organizations together for the benefit of disabled persons. It would also mandate the use of ADA truncated domes for easy detection of approach to hazardous locations.

An ADA truncated dome tile from ADA Solutions LLC being installed on a sidewalk.

1996 would see the Telecommunications Act being passed. The act would require all telecommunication devices to be equipped with accessibility features. In 1998, a federal judge would rule that professional golfer Casey Martin had the right to use a golf cart in PGA Tournaments due to his rare circulatory disorder.

In 1999,  the availability of Medicare and Medicaid for disabled beneficiaries would be expanded by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvements Act.  It would also be ruled that individuals have the right to receive benefits, and that it would be illegal discrimination to fail to find community-based placements for qualifying individuals with disabilities.

The 2000s

2001 saw detectable warnings for curb cuts becoming officially required. The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health would be established in 2002. The Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act would authorize funding and education for its athletes. California voters would pass Proposition 63, which would provide a wide range of services for those with severe mental illness.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, who was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state for seven years prior, would have her feeding tube ordered removed and ultimately pass away that year. In 2006, mental health parity would be achieved with the passing of Timothy’s Law.

2006 to 2010 saw the extension of the Americans with Disabilities Act to include those in state prisons and saw mental health facilities being held accountable under Jonathan’s Law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would require free and appropriate education for all students with disabilities, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act would become law. The Christopher and Dana Reeves Paralysis Act would also become law, and the reference “intellectual disability” would replace “mental retardation.”

2011’s passing of the new Americans with Disabilities Act would greatly expand requirements for accessibility and set new standards for mobility devices, ticket sales, and service animals, to name a very few. Many lawsuits and protests in the following years would lead to further confirmation, expansion, and enforcement of rights for those with disabilities that continue to this day.


ADA Solutions is a leading manufacturer of truncated dome mats and other tactile warning surface tiles. Call 1-800-372-0519 to learn more about the benefits of our competitively priced products and request your free quote.

Handicapped Accessible Sign

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments must provide equal opportunities to the general public and people with disabilities. Many associate it with workplace discrimination, but ADA compliance involves ensuring public areas are accessible. Here are 7 ways you can ensure your business is compliant.

Do All Businesses Have to Be ADA Compliant?

  1. Title III of the ADA applies to all private and public entities that serve the public. These include but are not limited to stores, restaurants, and other service establishments, as well as hotels, private schools, theaters, museums, doctor’s offices, and shopping malls. A broad set of standards was introduced in 1991, but requirements were significantly revised in 2010.

Is ADA Compliance Mandatory?

  1. Architectural barriers must be removed when doing so doesn’t impose undue difficulty on an organization. The size, type, and financial burden of modifying a public accommodation is taken into account, but what is difficult at one time may not be so in the future. The language of the ADA recognizes that business finances change over time.

How Do I Know My Business Meets ADA-Compliance Requirements?

The primary areas to focus on, especially if resources are limited, include:

  1. Parking Areas: Handicapped, or accessible, parking spots are required under the ADA. For every 25 parking spaces, there should be at least one accessible spot. Accessible parking spaces must be closest to the nearest wheelchair-accessible entrance. The law also sets limits on the ground slope and requires access aisles to be five feet wide near a car-accessible space and eight feet wide near a van-accessible space.

Handicap Parking sign

  1. Building Entrances: Accessible entrances must remain unlocked during business hours. Any bell or intercom must be four feet or less from the ground. Non-accessible entrances are permissible if a building has more than one entryway, but must have clear signage directing individuals to the nearest accessible entrance. Door hardware must be usable by people with mobility issues, such as levers and loop handles.
  2. Ramps: Where steps are removed, ramps or lifts must be provided, with limits on the steepness of a slope. Accessible ramps must be at least 36 inches wide. If data cables, hoses, or extension cords run across a ramp, they must be protected by a special heavy-duty cover that meets ADA-compliance standards. If one isn’t available or appropriate, a standard heavy-duty polyurethane cord protector can be used.
  3. Elevators: Accessible entrances must provide direct access to elevators. Call buttons must not be higher than 54 inches above the floor. The sliding door must also reopen automatically if something is obstructing it. Elevator interiors must be at least 54 inches deep by 36 inches wide, with at least 16 square feet of clear floor space.
  4. Signage: The International Symbol of Accessibility must be featured at all accessible parking spaces, elevators, bathrooms, and areas leading to accessible entrances. It should not protrude more than four inches into the accessible path. Tactile characters and braille must designate permanent rooms and spaces, while text must contrast with the background.

Order Detectable Warning Surfaces from ADA Solutions Today

Tactile warning surfaces are a staple of the ADA. Their purpose is to alert visually impaired individuals of transitions between pedestrian pathways and potentially hazardous areas such as streets, bus stops, or train tracks. Truncated domes can be felt using a cane, wheelchair, or walker. At ADA Solutions, we offer many types of products. Feel free to browse our catalog and educational resources, or call 800-372-0519 for help achieving ADA compliance.

diagonal tactile paving at platform edge

Detectable warning surfaces are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Federal guidelines require warning mats to be of a minimum size and for truncated domes to meet specific diameter, height, and spacing requirements. These surface-mounted truncated domes can be felt through a cane, walker, wheelchair, or a person’s feet.

Among the most important ADA requirements is where tactile surfaces should be located. To alert an individual of the edge of a walkable path and any potential oncoming traffic and other hazards, these should be placed at:

Curb Ramps

Cutting through a curb or built up to it, curb ramps let walker, scooter, or wheelchair users safely travel between the street and sidewalk. For a person who is visually impaired, identifying these transitions can be difficult. Therefore, detectable warning mats are required where the sidewalk meets the street, a curb indicates a crosswalk, or anywhere a ramp is located. On a sidewalk, truncated domes tell visually impaired individuals they are in a safe area or that moving traffic may be nearby.

Street Intersections

Tactile surfaces must be installed on curb ramps at street intersections. If the street or sidewalk was built pre-ADA, it will vary whether this is required. a municipality can install curb ramps at key pedestrian crossings to ease access to accessible building entrances and to and from accessible parking garages. At other nearby crossings and locations, it may choose to install curb ramps and detectable warning tiles, depending on whether other public facilities are nearby or if input from people with mobility disabilities suggests they are needed.

Transit Platform Edges

ADA compliant detectable warning surface tactiles installation

The ADA requires platform boarding edges without protective screens or guards to have tactile warning surfaces. Panels must be 24 inches wide for the entire length of a platform used by the public. Some warning systems use grooved lines. However, visually impaired people may not easily recognize these. Hard truncated domes are easily identifiable, even underfoot through the soles of one’s shoes, to alert someone of the platform edge and prevent them from falling onto the tracks.

Track Crossings

Truncated dome mats are required on sections of sidewalk approaching where the path crosses a train track. They must be far enough back to alert someone well before they could be in danger. In general, a distance of six to fifteen feet (from the center line of the nearest rail) is sufficient. It leaves enough room for a train gate to close, and it keeps the person far enough from a passing train.

Islands or Cut-Through Medians

A raised island at a crossing must be cut through and level with the street. Alternatively, it can have curb ramps at both sides. There also needs to be a level area of at least 48 inches long by 36 inches wide in the direction of the ramp’s running slope.

If you have any questions or uncertainties about truncated dome requirements or your facility’s need for detectable warnings, ADA Solutions can help. We offer numerous products with surface-mounted truncated domes that comply with the latest standards. Contact us today at 800-372-0519.

Cast in Place Tactile

Most businesses are required by law to follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This important piece of legislation, first enforced in 1991 and amended over the years, mainly focuses on businesses that serve the public. It requires them to provide equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities, especially regarding access. There are five segments called titles that provide guidance as to which businesses must be ADA-compliant.

Here is a closer look at the most relevant ones:

  • ADA Title I: This is most applicable to small private business owners. Private employers are covered under Title I, which prohibits discrimination based on disability, requires businesses to provide all employees with the same privileges, and makes reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform their duties. Those required to comply with the law include anyone who:
    • Works in an industry that impacts commerce
    • Employs 15 or more workers on a full-time basis
    • Does so for at least 20 weeks per year
  • ADA Title III: This only applies to businesses that are categorized as public accommodations. There are many that fall into this group. Under federal law, such accommodations include restaurants and bars, retail outlets, banks, health care provider offices, banks, and inns, hotels, and motels. Schools, gyms, social service centers, recreation venues, and public transportation facilities must also be compliant.

Those exempt from the law include private religious organizations and clubs, but there are many commercial facilities that aren’t included either. If a warehouse, office building, or factory doesn’t provide goods or services directly to the public, it only needs to meet ADA requirements if it undergoes alterations or is being newly constructed.

ADA guidelines are less strict for small businesses. However, owners are expected to make reasonable efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities. That means if your facility prohibits animals, an exemption for service dogs is recommended. If it’s not too difficult or costly, physical barriers should be removed to best serve the public.

For businesses with larger resources, the “readily achievable” requirement takes a larger stand because these organizations can take a more active role. Also, the ADA recognizes the impact of economic factors such as profits. If profits go down, a reduction or delay in barrier removal can be accepted under the ADA.

What Is ADA?

In its 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, the United States Department of Justice called for the removal of architectural barriers to make facilities more accessible. Some of its requirements include adding curb cuts to sidewalks and entrances, arranging furniture so that there’s a clear path of travel, widening doors, and allowing enough room around toilet partitions to accommodate a wheelchair.

The regulations also cover factors such as entrance ramps and accessible parking in areas of public accommodation. Also, the ADA focuses on ensuring goods and services are available by changing display rack layouts, using more visible signage, or including Braille.

The ADA provides a safe harbor provision in its Title III regulations. It states that any facility elements built or altered before March 15, 2012 don’t have to be adapted to the 2010 standards if they comply with the standards that went into effect in 1991. However, residential facilities and dwelling units, amusement rides, golf facilities, play areas, and swimming pools aren’t covered by the provision.

What Are the Consequences of Noncompliance?

It is important to be ADA-compliant, as it not only improves accessibility and safety but also because it is looked upon carefully by the courts. Proving that barrier removal could not be readily achieved can be a challenge, as the court may see this argument as a weak defense. There are variables such as what is not readily achievable can be done later. Ambiguities in the statutory language can present challenges for any facility or government entity being sued.

The civil penalties for ADA-noncompliance were last adjusted in 2014. A business found to violate ADA Title III rules can face a civil penalty of as much as $75,000 for a first violation. The maximum is $150,000 for a subsequent violation.1

Areas of Compliance

Brick Red Surface Applied Detectable Warning System

The ADA has provided a checklist for barrier removal to use as guidance. Some areas of compliance involve accessibility of public telephones, elevator call buttons and control panels, drinking fountains, self-service kiosks, and vending machines.

Regarding ADA safety, perhaps the most important consideration concerns detectable warning surfaces. These are required wherever there is a public right-of-way. Crosswalks, store entrances, walkways, and parking lots are just a few examples. The ADA provides specific regulations on the size and placement of these panels, as well as the width, height, and spacing of the truncated domes on them that allow people using canes, wheelchairs, and scooters to detect a transition in surfaces or where an area of high traffic is nearby.

ADA Solutions Can Help Your Facility Stay Compliant

Our products can help you comply with ADA regulations and local ordinances and laws. While the ADA doesn’t, some local jurisdictions require a specific color to be used. The ADA calls for a contrast of light and dark. If you’re looking to complete ADA compliant updates, we can help you with a variety of products, including replaceable panels and cast-in-place units. If you don’t have ADA-compliant pavers, you can retrofit your facility with surface-applied detectable warning systems.

Yellow Transit Detectable Warning Tile

We also offer tactile radius systems for curved areas such as sidewalk corners or turns in accessible pathways. Replaceable graphic tiles, photoluminescent systems, and heavy-duty cast in place warning tiles for transit facilities are available as well. The guidelines for transit facilities are somewhat different, but we offer those and Staggered Dome Surface Applied Tactile, In-Line Surface Applied Tactile, and Staggered Dome Cast-in-Place Tactile surfaces.

Whatever the needs of your public facility, ADA Solutions can provide the ADA-compliant tactile warning surfaces it needs to improve accessibility, safety, and compliance. Call 800-372-0519 to learn more or get a free quote.


yellow surface applied warning tiles

If you’re looking to improve your public access system, look no further than the most recent guidelines. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became a law in 1990, covers everything from workplace discrimination to web usability, to the accessibility of public access points. Titles II and III, which were originally published in 1991, are collectively known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If you intend on making improvements in 2020, here are some requirements to consider.

Public access systems owned by state and local government agencies, commercial facilities, and operators of public accommodations must be ADA-compliant. The law applies to newly designed facilities, newly constructed facilities, and those that have been altered after the latest rules went into effect.

To be compliant with these standards, a facility must be:

  • Readily accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Usable by individuals with disabilities.

What Is Required and Where?

Here is what to improve if you’re looking to update your public access system:

  • Curb Ramps: Updates as recently as 2016 make state and local governments fully responsible for how they build curbs. These guidelines call for a slope of no more than 8.33% and for the ramp to be at least 36 inches wide.1 Any transition must be level with the street, walkway, or gutter. A curb ramp must be placed anywhere a sidewalk or pedestrian path touches a curb that transitions into a roadway.
  • Sidewalks: Any sidewalk must have a clear width of 36 inches minimum. However, if a given section extends for 24 inches, this can be reduced to 32 inches, but reduced width areas must be separated by 48- x 36-inch (minimum) segments. At least one accessible route must be available from a public street, accessible parking area, or passenger loading zone. Common violations include incorrect or missing signs at entrances or exits, steep slopes, a lack of accessible bathroom stalls, and non-compliant stairways, parking spaces, and service counters.2

The latest guidelines consider the fact people with disabilities may not notice changes in walking surfaces. This includes where a sidewalk transitions into a busy street with vehicular traffic or where an elevated ramp begins, which stresses the need for:

  • Detectable Warning Surfaces: These are surfaces placed on or embedded in concrete that feature truncated domes. Each dome must meet specific guidelines in terms of height, width, and placement in relation to other domes. The purpose of this is to create an audible surface that makes a sound when a person using a walking stick or wheelchair passes over it. Detectable warning surfaces are bright in color to provide contrast with surrounding surfaces. Their tactile nature enables people to feel the truncated domes below their feet (more on tactile warning surfaces by ADA Solutions, Inc. later).

Requirements are in place for specific types of facilities. Here is a look at ADA requirements to consider when making improvements to:

  • Housing at Places of Education: Kitchens must have a turning space of at least 36 inches wide, while multi-bedroom housing units with accessible sleeping rooms must have an accessible route through the unit.
  • Assembly Areas: Horizontally dispersed wheelchair spaces and companion seats must be available in stadiums, arenas, and grandstands on all levels near a field of play or performance area. In stadium-style movie theaters, they must be on a riser or cross-aisle within the rear 60% of seats.3
  • Medical Care Facilities: Sufficient clear floor space should be available at a parallel approach to the side of a bed. Turning space should be provided in toilet and bathing rooms, as well. Doors in such rooms must not impose on the clear floor space when open unless they’re not for common use or public use.
  • Detection/Correctional Facilities: At least 3% of cells, and no fewer than one cell, in a facility must have accessible mobility features, including adequate turning space, compliant benches, and clear floor space near a bed and in toilet and bathing facilities.4
  • Primary Function Areas: Areas within a facility containing a major activity, such as bank tellers, telephones, restrooms, drinking fountains, and employee areas, must have an accessible path of travel.

In fact, ADA requirements affect any business or organization that accommodates the public, including stores, restaurants, public restrooms, parks, parking garages, bus stations, and train/rail/subway stations; as well as airports, hotels/motels/resorts, and apartment/rental properties.

Cast-in-place Tile

In addition to detectable warning surfaces and clear accessibility paths, you want to ensure the following are ADA-compliant:

  • Number of accessible parking spaces: There must be at least one accessible parking space in a parking facility of up to 25 total spaces, two in a 26 to 25 space lot, and 2% of the total in a parking facility with 501 to 1,000 spaces.
  • Accessible doors/gates: Doors must have a clear width of at least 32 inches, measured with the door open 90 degrees, and openings more than 24 inches deep must provide at least 36 inches of clear space with no projections lower than 34 inches high.
  • Handles: A handle, latch, or lock on a door or gate must be between 34 and 48 inches high from the floor or ground. Similarly, railings, handrails, and guards can not exceed 34 inches above the ground or a deck surface.
  • Ramp rails: Handrails are also required on ramp runs that rise more than 6 inches; they should be provided on both sides of ramps and stairs. The top gripping surface must be between 34 and 38 inches high at all points above a walking or ramp surface.
  • Benches: Bench seats must be at least 42 inches long and from 20 to 24 inches deep, with proper back support; adequate clear floor or ground space must be positioned at the end of the bench seat and parallel to the bench’s short axis.6

Improve Your Public Access System with ADA Products

At ADA Solutions, Inc., we can help your facility meet ADA requirements. We provide a variety of warning surfaces that improve public access and mobility for visually impaired or otherwise disabled persons. Our Cast-in-Place replaceable panels introduced in 2006 are designed for insertion into fresh concrete, while our Surface Applied detectable warning surfaces can be retrofit onto an existing concrete surface or new construction.

We also offer a heavy-duty Cast-in-Place panel with linear embedment ribs. In addition, our radius system accommodates turns in walking surfaces; they can accommodate a variety of radius conditions and be custom cut to fit applications when necessary. We are also glad to offer solutions for transit facilities, including Heavy Duty Cast-in-Place Tactile, Staggered Dome Surface Applied Tactile, In-Line Surface Applied Tactile, and Staggered Dome Cast-in-Place Tactile.

curved detectable warning tiles on sidewalk.

Most of our products are made of a durable fiberglass reinforced composite material that’s resistant to UV fade and allows your facility to address compliance with the latest ADA standards. Cast iron detectable warning surfaces are also available. Tactile feedback improves public access, mobility, and safety for all pedestrians. Our products meet all the dimensional requirements and specifications outlined in the latest guidelines.

To learn more about how to improve your public access system in 2020 or receive a free quote, call ADA Solutions, Inc. at (800) 372-0519 to speak to a detectable warning expert.


curved detectable warning tiles on sidewalk.

When you need a way to increase accessibility and safety for visually impaired pedestrians, tactile paving is your solution. This system allows a pedestrian to detect a distinctive pattern underfoot, providing a warning of approaching hazards. These ADA-compliant tiles are available in a number of different types.

Where Can ADA Tiles Be Found?

The ADA tile system can be found virtually everywhere. Train, subway, and bus stations are required by law to use these tiles to ensure pedestrians remain a safe distance away from tracks and moving vehicles.

On city streets, tiles must be placed on corners to warn about upcoming street crossings. They are available in regular or curved detectable warning tiles. Way-finding surfaces like truncated dome surface tiles help to guide pedestrians across any walking surface.


ADA-compliant tiles are available in both regular and radius forms. The regular form is a rectangular shape, which is ideal for installation in straight lines, such as along the edge of a subway platform.

Radius systems are curved, which allows for installation along curbs, walkways, and other surfaces where tactile warnings are needed in order to avoid injury due to surface changes.


ADA tile systems consist of truncated domes in various patterns. Truncated domes provide a surface that’s different from any other. This is a very important point, as this kind of distinct pattern will prevent pedestrians from confusing it with that of another surface, such as gravel. The truncated dome pattern also allows for the warning to occur as soon as the pedestrian feels it underfoot.

Installation Types

ADA tiles can be installed in three different ways. Each will have its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your climate, budget, and other specific requirements. There are three types of ADA tile: cast-in-place, surface applied, and cast-in-place replaceable.

Cast-in-place Tile


Cast-in-place radius tactile warning panels are a long-term warning system solution. They are made of iron or a composite material consisting of fiberglass, carbon, and homogeneous glass. Each tile features embedment ribs to secure the tile, which is pressed into freshly poured concrete.

Applications for Cast-in-Place Tiles

These tiles are ideal for virtually any climate or application, whether private or public. The product provides pedestrians with an instant warning that a potentially hazardous condition is near. The cast-in-place tile can be seen in locations where the surface transitions from one type to another, such as from a ramp to the sidewalk or from a sidewalk to an intersection.

Cast-in-place tiles are also used where conditions may otherwise be too dangerous for a visually impaired pedestrian to access without assistance. Examples of these can be stair landings, parking lots, or public transportation platforms where permanent warnings are needed.


This type of tile does not require any painting to maintain its color, as the cast-in-place product is colored throughout for long-term color-fastness. In addition to Seattle Yellow, this option is available in eight additional colors, all of them ADA approved.


Tiles of this type can only be installed in fresh concrete. In order to remove them, complete demolition is needed and new concrete poured in order to install new tiles. As a result, this type of tile takes the longest to install and remove.

Surface Applied

The surface-applied tile can either be used to fit onto existing hardened concrete or installed onto new concrete. This lightweight product is made of exterior-grade fiberglass polymer composite material that is both UV stable and colorfast. They also contain beveled edges to create a seamless transition.

Applications for Surface-Applied Tiles

Surface-applied radius tactile panels are best for applications where it isn’t feasible, cost-effective, or necessary to replace concrete. As a result, they can be installed on entryways, ramps, and sidewalks of local businesses, as well as in front of government buildings. They can also be installed in parking lots and on streets and ramps.


This product offers more than one option for installation, as it can be inserted into new concrete as well as installed over existing concrete. Secure installation is another benefit; surface-applied tiles have both color-matched fasteners and structural adhesive to ensure a reliable and long-term fit.

Because they are designed to be placed on top of concrete, surface-applied tiles take only a few minutes to install. Should the need arise to remove this type of tile, all that’s required is to break it apart and remove the pieces.


Depending on the heaviness of traffic, these tiles may need to be replaced more often than other types. They also require time to ensure that the tile is mounted properly so that slippage and separation can be prevented.

Cast-in-place replaceable Tile

Cast-in-Place Replaceable

Cast-in-place replaceable tiles allow for the top part of the tile to be replaced when needed, but without having to demolish the underlying concrete. Also called “wet set,” this product is versatile, allowing for placement in many areas.

Applications for Cast-in-Place Replaceable Tiles

These tiles can be installed on wheelchair ramps, in vehicular passageways, and at escalator approaches. They are also ideal for areas where a visual warning to sighted pedestrians is also needed.


The cast-in-place replaceable tile uses a simple bolt system that allows fast and easy removal when needed. To do so, simply loosen the bolts and lift the old panel off, reversing the procedure for the new panel. A major benefit of this product is that tiles can include messages and artwork so that sighted passengers can also receive warnings.

Any images placed on these replaceable tiles can be of photographic quality. As well, artwork can contain up to four colors, and they are available in a range of five sizes. Messages and artwork can span a series of tiles or be placed on a single tile. Finally, the cast-in-place replaceable tiles offer high cost-effectiveness, as only the top pieces need to be ordered when replacement is needed.


Because they are replaceable, it takes time to ensure that the new tiles are positioned and secured properly each time the old tiles need replacing. This can mean a significant amount of installation time for large areas.

Finding the Right ADA Tile

Although much information about radius tactile detectable warning tiles exists, it can still be difficult to know which one is right for your application. Where this is the case, it’s important to ensure you are getting the right information. Therefore, a knowledgeable staff that can offer expert advice is absolutely essential.

The company you choose should, of course, offer only ADA-compliant products, and the quality of the products you purchase from them should be the highest possible to add the most value to your investment. In terms of pricing, your chosen company should offer prices lower than its competitors, but not at the cost of quality.

You should also be able to get the tiles you ordered within a reasonable amount of time. A warranty will communicate that the company you’ve chosen stands behind their customers and their products.

Superior ADA-Compliant Tiles for Your Application

ADA Solutions prides itself on producing high-quality and durable detectable warning surface tiles. We are able to accomplish this with a sophisticated quality management system at every stage of production. All of our products are manufactured using long-strand fiberglass, which is dispersed evenly through both the tile base and its truncated domes.

We are the leading manufacturer of curved detectable warning panels. Thanks to our large distribution network, ADA Solutions is able to ship your tiles within 6 to 36 business hours following receipt of your order.

All of our products are competitively priced and include a 7-year warranty, the longest in the industry. Discover the difference that working with ADA Solutions can make to your detectable warning panel installation. Call us to request your free quote: 1-800-372-0519.


People are on the go daily. Many often rely on public transportation services like trains, subways, and buses. Getting around can be more difficult if you have some sort of travel-limiting disability and have to rely upon some type of medical device for assistance.

Travel-limiting disabilities require the use of walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, seeing-eye dogs, canes, and so on. Navigating transit stations can be challenging as there are often several obstacles one must overcome. These could include turnstiles, platform edges, elevators, escalators, stairs, ramps, and more.

How ADA Solutions can help improve transit and people with travel-limiting disabilities is with our tactile warning surfaces. Our warning surfaces provide feedback for those with visual impairments. The surface tiles can be used in several locations, as well as for guidance to help people safely get where they need to go.

Additionally, warning surfaces also help provide visual feedback for people without visual impairments. They can help get the attention of someone who is distracted and prevent them from walking off a platform or falling down a flight of stairs.

For more information about how ADA Solutions helps improve transit and our tactile warnings surfaces, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, feel free to browse our online catalog of warning surface tile products. Do not hesitate to contact us directly if you have further questions or need assistance in selecting the best warning surfaces for your transit system. We look forward to sharing our knowledge to help you make your workplace or transit station accessible to everyone.

How Can Tactile Warning Surfaces and ADA Solutions Improve Transit? (Infographic)

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Different Types of ADA Tiles

There are several different types of ADA tiles you can use in various locations that provide specific functions and purposes. Each of these tiles complies with current ADA requirements relating to the overall size of the tiles and the spacing between the truncated domes.

  • Please note: It is the responsibility of the installer to ensure tiles are installed according to ADA requirements regarding placement, incline, etc.

1. Cast-in-Place

This type of ADA tile is for new construction projects and renovations.

2. Cast-in-Place Replaceable

This type of ADA tile is also for new construction projects and renovations. The key difference from Cast-in-Place is that Cast-in-Place Replaceable tiles are replaceable without having to tear out the concrete.

3. Surface Applied

This type of ADA tile is for retrofitting projects and is applied on top of existing surfaces.

4. Radius System

This type of ADA tile is for curved applications like common at busy intersections.

5. Cast Iron

This type of ADA tile is well-suited for extreme conditions.

6. Photoluminescent

This type of ADA tile provides lighting in low lighting conditions for non-visually impaired people.

7. Replaceable Graphic Tile

This type of ADA tile is like Cast-in-Place Replaceable but has graphics on the replaceable part of the tile, such as business advertisements, warnings, or other images and messages.

8. Way-Finding Surface

This type of ADA tile is to help visually impaired people find their way in various walking areas like college campuses and parks.

To learn more about the different types of ADA tiles and their differences, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, if you have further questions or need assistance in selecting the best ADA tiles for your project, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions directly to speak with a representative today!

Different Types of ADA Tiles (Infographic)

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