Your Stories

Free the Emergency Cords!

If you’ve ever used an accessible toilet and caught sight of an unruly emergency cord, one that’s been mistreated, tangled up or cut short, you might be in need of a Red Cord Card.

After reading thousands of disabled access reviews on Euan’s Guide, we spotted the one thing that was being brought up again and again: too many people don’t understand the purpose of emergency cords, and accessible toilets aren’t safe as a result. Never ones to shy away from a conversation about toilets, we decided to come up with a solution to the red cord problem.

Two years ago, we designed our first Red Cord Card; a pocket-sized solution to a persistent problem. The cards are sturdy; just the right strength to withstand a splash of water from the sink. They are easily readable, with high-contrast text printed in RNIB’s Tiresias font, outlined with a bold frame in a stand-out colour. Importantly, they can attach onto emergency cords easily without setting off the alarm, and they’ll be able to stay there for a very long time. Should they need replaced, we can post a new one straight away.

We thought carefully about the message on the cards; how could we explain their purpose and ensure they are properly looked after in as few words as possible?

“This red emergency cord must hang freely all the way to the floor. If it does not, it may prevent a disabled person from asking for help.”

For those who are unsure of their function, an emergency cord is positioned from ceiling to floor beside an accessible toilet, and often beside showers and in changing rooms. This is because they’re needed wherever a wheelchair user might have to transfer out of their chair onto another seat, or a toilet, and is at risk of falling as they do so. If someone were to fall, the cord needs to be within reach or, in other words, as close to the floor as possible. That’s why tying up a red cord, or cutting it short to make cleaning the floors easier is dangerous.

We’ve now distributed over 20,000 #RedCordCards, and the requests keep on coming!

If you’d like us to send you some, simply tell us how many you need and where we should send them to. You can do this here:

By the Euan’s Guide team

Solved a problem? Share your solution on Facebook, tweet us @duniteduk, or email our Editor on

Back to top button