MECHANICSBURG – It’s no secret that being an EMT or paramedic is backbreaking work. For members of Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS, however, their backs no longer will be constantly shouldering the load when it comes to lifting patients up and down on a stretcher or loading them in and out of an ambulance, thanks to the department’s two newest acquisitions – a power ambulance cot and power cot loading system.
Manufactured by Stryker, a medical technology company based in Michigan, the power cot or stretcher is designed to reduce the strain on the bodies of EMS workers when it comes to raising and lowering a patient once he or she is secured to the cot, while the power cot loading system eliminates the strenuous activity of lifting a patient in and out of the back of an ambulance.
“This is a proactive step toward preventing back and shoulder work-related injuries that are prevalent with EMS providers,” Mechanicsburg Assistant Fire Chief/EMS Steve Castle said. “We’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve not had to deal with any of these injuries yet, but other departments have. We are trying to prevent the problem before it happens.”
Castle said the version of the power cot the department purchased – the Stryker Power-PRO XT – is capable of holding up to 700 pounds.
Helping make life a little easier for Mechanicsburg EMTs and paramedics came at a price, as the power cot and power load system totaled $44,975.39.
To help fund the purchases, Castle turned to the state, which came through and paid for all but $5,743.85 of the total costs.
The majority of the funding, he said, came from a $33,731.54 grant from the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Safety Intervention Grant Program, while the Ohio Department of Public Safety Division of EMS awarded the department a $5,500 grant.
While the new Stryker Power-LOAD Cot Fastener System has been installed in the department’s new 2017 International Harvester ambulance (Medic 30), Castle said it won’t be put into active use until the completion of a training session on May 11, a stipulation of one of the grants.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.