NEWS FROM NW ADA CENTER – IDAHO
In Praise of Alexa!
On February 26, my quickie electric wheelchair stopped working when I was in the kitchen reaching for a piece of fruit in my refrigerator. I was stuck in the open door of my refrigerator and I couldn’t move. I am a quadriplegic due to a car accident many years ago. My wheelchair is my legs. If my electric wheelchair malfunctions, I am stuck where I am. I can’t disengage the motors to manually push myself.
I usually have my cellphone on me in case of emergency, but not on Monday! I reached down to get my phone out of the side pocket attached to my chair and my phone wasn’t there! I remembered I left my phone on the charger in the bedroom. All kinds of thoughts were going through my mind, but as you can imagine, I was pretty much out of luck in getting any help.
I called my standard poodle, Pierre, to run and get help, but he just looked at me and begged me to get him a piece of cheese out of the refrigerator.
I started searching around and found the keys to my van in the side pocket and thought if I used the automatic alarm on the key, maybe someone would come to my rescue. However, no one came to see why the alarm was going off. After I sat in the refrigerator door for 45 minutes, a commercial came on TV talking about using Alexa to call friends. I remembered I ad set up my Alexa to make phone calls, but I hadn’t used it to call friends, as I have my iPhone.
Alexa was in the living room and I thought, maybe if I yelled loudly enough, over the noise of the TV, I could use her to call someone to rescue me from my refrigerator.
I started yelling to Alexa, and much to my surprise, Alexa could hear me over the TV. I started calling people who live or work close to my house. After calling four people, I finally reached my friend Roger Howard. When I got ahold of Roger, I kept yelling so he could hear me through Alexa. My poodle, Pierre, started barking in excitement and Roger figured out I was stuck at my house.
Roger came to my rescue and pushed me out of the refrigerator door. Roger didn’t know I had an Echo device and didn’t realize I could use Alexa to make phone calls. He said when he got my call I sounded like I was in a tunnel. He thought maybe I was at the State Capitol stuck in the bathroom, as we have been working on some legislative bills this year.
Roger stated, “When I got the call from Dana, I could hear the word ‘stuck’ and then Pierre barked and basically said, ‘Get over here now!’ When I got in the house, the refrigerator looked like a big shark trying to eat Dana’s head. I must say she was cool, calm, and collected despite the situation…But of course she was cool, she was in the refrigerator!”
I wish Alexa could fix electric wheelchairs, she is more responsive than the local wheelchair repair business in Boise.
I plan to get an Echo device for every room in my house in case another emergency comes up. If you have wireless and an Amazon account, an Echo device will work great. I highly recommend it in case you are stuck in the refrigerator.
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 711