victor fire

(From left) Kim Bingman of KNB Fire in Lewiston, Idaho, installs a power-loading cot system for the Victor fire department as Kristy Gaul, EMT, and Roy Perry, EMS captain, watch.

Photo provided

In an effort to both lower risk of injuries to Victor Fire District firefighters and emergency medical staff, and protect those citizens in the district from injuries while being transported, Victor Volunteer Fire District has purchased a power-loading cot system for use with the ambulance.

The district has experienced injuries to personnel in the way of back strains, pinched fingers and broken bones as a result of loading and unloading injured citizens with the current manual cot system. The new system lifts and lowers the cot into and out of the ambulance, eliminating spinal loads that can result in cumulative trauma injuries and other injuries.

The new power-load system also will improve patient safety by easier loading and unloading by implementing a system that is attached to the frame of the ambulance and keeps the patient from sliding forward or backward if an accident were to occur.

In a study completed with the Norman Oklahoma Regional Health System, back injury totals decreased to zero with one year of implementation of the power-load system, while the regional health system experienced a total of 39 injuries in 2010 prior to implementation of the power-load cot system.

In Ada County, Idaho paramedics back injury rates decreased from a peak of 10 in 2010 to zero in 2014 and 2015 after implementation of the power-load system.

“This piece of equipment is very important in order to reduce the loss of volunteers in the district to do the work," said Victor Fire Chief Scott Hackett. "When we have injuries, it becomes difficult to meet the emergency needs of our citizens.”

The cost of the power load, cot and installation is just over $40,000.

“The equipment is spendy, but when you think about the cost of workmen’s compensation claims and all the associated medical costs when an injury does occur, this will save everyone money in the long run,” said Roy Perry, the EMS captain for Victor Fire.

All fire districts with ambulances in the Bitterroot Valley, including Hamilton, are expected to purchase and implement similar systems within the next few years.