New equipment helps take the 'weight' off firemen's work load

Stacey Spivey
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 7:00pm

With an increased number of obese Americans, first responders are having a harder time getting people into an ambulance during an emergency. However, there is a new device that can change that, and the Jacksonville Fire department says it's been a huge help in the week that they've had it. "We've used it multiple times, we love it, it's great," said Travis ford, firefighter and paramedic for JFD.

The 'Stryker' device is a $17000 piece of equipment that lifts patients from the stretcher into the ambulance. With the push of a button, firefighters can safely get the patient to where they need to be, and not have to bare the weight.  "One of the number one injuries in our job is back injuries and so with this device it enables us to take a lot of the load off us and this equipment pretty much does the work for you," said Ford.

Jerry Wilbanks is a 23 year old firefighter for Jacksonville and from personal experience, believes this will help save firefighters backs in the future. "We went to lift him and I felt fine, we got to the place to let him out and I felt a loud pop. Then I felt pain and I was out of work for about three weeks or so," said Wilbanks and he thinks if you don't let it heal, "one day it's going to pop off or pop loose and be an injury, it might not be temporary, it might be permanent."

This machine can lift up to 700 lbs, and so it prevents the risk of a patient being dropped. It also only takes about thirty seconds to get someone into the ambulance.  Because of it's success so far, JFD wants to order another one soon.

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