HESSTON — Collaboration and communication are integral skills for any first-responder. Recently, the Hesston Fire/EMS Department practiced those skills within the larger community — seeking assistance in securing some new equipment.
Thanks to those community partnerships (with $30,000 in financial contributions from 30 area businesses), Hesston Fire/EMS was able to purchase a new Stryker Power Load System for one if its ambulances. The system was officially put into service last week with a training held for personnel on Dec. 16.
Hesston Fire/EMS Chief Russ Buller said the equipment enhances the services provided by local first-responders by creating a safer work environment for staff, as well as allowing for safer loading, unloading and transportation of patients.
"It's definitely a back saver for first-responders," Buller said. "It's much safer for the patient both in the loading and unloading, as well as in an accident situation where it's a much more secure mounting system."
With the power load system, the Hesston's first out ambulance now features a track and trolley with a hydraulic lift, which eases the responsibility on technicians for critical lifts. Buller noted the hydraulics of the power load system do all the lifting, so all technicians have to do is walk the cot back into the ambulance.
Hesston Fire Marshal Misti Uhlman noted in a release that one of the most significant risks for first-responders is back injuries, with one in four emergency medical service responders suffering a career-ending back injury within their first four years of employment. With the power load system, some of that strain will be taken off Hesston Fire/EMS staff to help reduce injuries — a benefit that can't be overlooked.
"A very high percentage of first responders have very significant back injuries in the first few years of doing this job. It's a type of job that puts a lot of stress on the lower back because of the types of lifts that we have to perform," Buller said. "Any time we can reduce that number of lifts, it's going to not only reduce our chance of injuring our staff, it will extend their ability to do this job for many more years, which helps the community."