Posted By: Camila Orti
Lincoln Fire and Rescue announced the use of new technology that benefits both paramedics and ambulance patients.
"It's a great system across the board both for patients and firefighters," LFR Capt. Francisco Martinez said.
It's called the Stryker Power–LOAD cot fastening system. The equipment is designed to hydraulically lift patients weighing up to 700 pounds in and out of ambulances, reducing risk of injury.
Martinez has been a paramedic for 16 years, and has been using the new system for the past six months. He says it's as easy as pushing a few buttons and gently sliding the patient into the vehicle.
"Before, we'd have to use some pretty raw man power, lifting and pushing," Martinez said.
It's that strenuous daily activity that commonly injures rescue personnel.
"On a daily basis, a patient will get transported about ten times on average," Martinez said.
That means paramedics like him are lifting and lowering cots at least 20 times each day. LFR officials say that leads to sustainable back injuries, which affect more than 50 percent of EMTs.
"This is one of the things we're trying to do to alleviate those back injuries to make it safer for our providers in the field," Division Chief Roger Bonin said.
The equipment benefits patients as well.
"I've also seen slips that've caused the stretcher to misplace and maybe frighten the patient, it's just definitely more secure this way," Martinez said.
The system is also the first in the U.S. to meet dynamic crash test standards to increase the safety for occupants of the ambulance. So far, two ambulances have the technology. A third ambulance is scheduled to have the system installed within the next 90 days. Officials hope that within the next few years, the entire LFR fleet will be equipped with it.
Each unit costs $25,000, money that is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Metropolitan Medical Response System. More information on LFR is available at fire.lincoln.ne.gov.