Pittsburgh EMS is making the purchase with the intended goal of
reducing injuries to their personnel. Although this cost to a municipal agency with a limited budget is significant, these high-technology
stretchers and self-loading systems should be viewed as an asset to the
city and future benefits may well outweigh the financial cost.
Everitt further reports that Pittsburgh EMS has paid 19 workers’
compensation claims related to on the job lifting and moving injuries,
totaling $215,000 over the past two years.
New investments in power stretchers have the potential to markedly reduce these claims. Tri-Community South EMS in Bethel Park,
Penn., has sought to improve conditions for their employees by integrating Binder Lifts, power load systems and power stretchers into
their daily operations.
Nora Helfrich, the director of Tri-Community South EMS, notes,
“We have had no injuries to employees since purchasing these three
pieces of equipment.”
This work argues that a reduction in injury rates of EMS providers
will be fostered by careful and considered improvements in three areas
of control: administrative, behavioral, and technological/engineering.
With results showing a significant decrease in injuries, services like
Pittsburgh EMS are taking notice. Not only is this change financially
responsible, but more importantly, it promises to lengthen the careers
and ensure the continued health of EMS providers.
The EMS community needs more research devoted to the topic
of proper lifting and moving in order to underscore its importance to
prehospital care and to create new, safer methods of lifting and moving.
By continuing to invest time and resources in administration, education and technology/engineering, EMS systems will build better
cultures and more rigorous practices of safety for their providers and
Niklavs Eglitis, BS, NRP, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and
Rehabilitation Sciences. Contact him at NPE4@pitt.edu.
Emily Corrigan, BS, NRP, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and
Rehabilitation Sciences. Contact her at ESC35@pitt.edu.
Marc Sweeney, BS, NRP, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and
Rehabilitation Sciences. Contact him at MLS204@pitt.edu.
John Pierce, MBA, NRP, is an instructor in emergency medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walt Stoy, PhD, EMT-P, is professor and director of emergency medicine in the Department
of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and
Rehabilitation Sciences. Contact him at email@example.com.
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Figure 4: Ferno iNX (left) and Stryker Power-PRO (right) are two widely used power stretchers