KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Kennewick Fire Department is going high tech with some of their ambulances. Battalion Chief Vince Beasley said they are one of the first in the state to get this fairly new technology. It's designed to improve operator and patient safety by supporting the stretcher throughout the loading and unloading of patients into an ambulance. The device can hydraulically lift about 900 pounds, alleviating some physical strains for firefighters and EMT's.
"Now that's not just poundage we're talking about. It's repetitive motion. We have about 8,000 calls a year and the twisting and the bending with the lifting is what's creating the injuries," Beasley said.
Beasley said about two thirds of injuries at the fire department are things like shoulder, back or neck injuries and are likely caused by those repetitive movements.
The price tag on this system was $27,000 and Beasley said it will be a wash, with what they're saving on costs related to those injuries.
A new ambulance, to be delivered in the next few weeks, will come equipped with a second power loading system for the fire department.