New Equipment Improves Ambulance Safety

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Two Lincoln Fire & Rescue ambulances are now equipped with a system that increases safety for patients and responders. The Stryker Power-LOAD cot fastening system is ergonomically designed to reduce injuries by hydraulically lifting patients weighing up to 700 pounds and supporting the cot until the wheels are on the ground.

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. A third ambulance is scheduled to have the system installed within the next 90 days.

“Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to 16,720 calls for medical assistance in 2013,” said LFR Chief John Huff. “In every instance, we pride ourselves on providing the best patient care while treating patients with dignity and respect. The Power-LOAD system will help reduce the spinal stress on providers and help prevent cumulative trauma injuries. This system will be very helpful in keeping Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians from being injured in the field.”

According to EMS World magazine, “If you’re an average-size provider, male or female, lifting that patient on a stretcher and loading them into your truck can generate forces on your back that not only exceed the threshold of a potential hazard, but approach the level at which NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) advises tasks be redesigned.”

Funding for the Power-LOAD systems is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Metropolitan Medical Response System.

Also on Thursday, Mayor Chris Beutler today recognized Lincoln Fire and Rescue for again earning International Accredited Agency status from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, Inc. (CFAI). The department received its re-accreditation earlier this month at the annual conference of the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

“The accreditation process gives Lincoln Fire and Rescue an opportunity to review its policies, and procedures and then be evaluated by peers from other agencies,” Mayor Beutler said. “Achieving accreditation assures the public that fire and ambulance services in this City are of the highest quality. The process is also an important tool to help LFR be proactive in looking at plans for improvements in the future.”

The Department was one of the first five in the world to receive CFAI accreditation in August 1997. The Commission requires re-accreditation every five years, and the process includes a site visit from a team representing CFAI.

“The accreditation process covers all aspects of our operations, reassuring citizens that our service delivery meets or exceeds industry standards,” said Fire Chief John Huff. “The accreditation team worked many hours to assure that we were prepared for the peer assessors onsite evaluation in all areas. I am very proud of all members of Lincoln Fire and Rescue who provide service in a caring, compassionate professional manner every day.”

Lincoln is one of only a few cities in the U.S. to have all three emergency service providers accredited. The Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and the Emergency Communications/911 Center are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which requires re-accreditation every three years. LPD has been nationally accredited since 1989, when the department became the first law enforcement agency in Nebraska to achieve that status. The Lincoln Emergency Communications/911 was the 14th center in the nation to be accredited by CALEA in 2002.