Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


February 26, 2014

JFD’s new equipment helps with large patients

JACKSONVILLE — With the increasing number of obese Americans, firefighter/paramedics around the country are experiencing more back injuries than ever before. This is especially true for fire departments that run the ambulance service, such as the Jacksonville Fire Department.

In an effort to assist firefighters with these heavy patients, the city has purchased the latest equipment available for lifting these patients.  

This equipment allows for the patient to be lifted to the height of the back of the ambulance and placed in the ambulance.  

Patients can then be taken out of the ambulance without the firefighters having to lift or hold the weight of the patient.

Once the patient is on flat ground and out of their house or vehicle, firefighters will not be required to again lift the weight of the patient.   

 This equipment consists of two things:  a battery operated power lift cot, and a power load system which is mounted in the back of an ambulance. Both of these items are built by Stryker medical equipment company and can hold patients weighing up to 700 pounds.

The Jacksonville Fire Department has three power lift cots and one ambulance equipped with the power load system.  

These cots will lift the patient to the height of the back of the ambulance without the firefighters having to lift this heavy weight.

 The power load equipment attaches to the cot when the cot is at the back of the ambulance in the

extended position.  

The power load system will hold the weight of the patient in the extended position while the wheels are being retracted.  The firefighter can then simply push the cot into the back of the ambulance without having to hold the weight of the patient.  

The power load equipment also allows firefighters to slide the cot out of the ambulance and lower the legs on the cot without having to hold the patient’s weight.  

Both pieces of equipment are very expensive with the power cot costing approximately $10,000 and the power load system approximately $16,000.  

Although the cost is expensive, preventing a back injury is well worth the cost.  

Though this equipment is primarily for the benefit of the firefighter/paramedic, the power load system has one important benefit for the patient in that it is anchored securely to the frame of the vehicle.  It is rated multiple times better to securely hold the cot and patient in place during a wreck than the older vehicle cot connection.  

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