By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
During a recent work session with the Tucker County Commission and the Tucker County Ambulance Authority Interim EMS Director, Amanda Simmons, presented the Commission with information and pricing for the possibility of adding new Stryker brand cots to the ambulances. The cots will allow the EMS crews to be able to lift patients safely and effectively. The need to call fire departments for lift assistance would also be eliminated.
This added featured to the ambulance would however come at a high cost. Each one would cost in the neighborhood of $33,000. Simmons is currently working on submitting a grant request from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to help provide the needed equipment. The primary goal of the AFG is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations.
Simmons said, “The AFG grant will go, and they will contribute to whatever I need so, I am going to go for all of this. The Stryker cots is what I really need.” Commissioner Mike Rosenau asked Simmons when she would know the outcome of the grant. Simmons said it would be September before she had an answer.
Simmons requests for the new lift system was contingent upon the use of grant money the Commission has at its disposal. Simmons said, “I do not want any funding other than that grant money because I need funding to go to EMS not for all of these other things.” Simmons was under the impression the money in the grant held by the Commission may expire but Rosenau explained that the money is used for needs based on priority in the County and does not “float away”.
The reason for EMS needing the lift system was explained by Simmons. She said, “Myself and another EMT had a 500-pound patient. The ambulance would drop down and the cot would not raise. After we locked it in we had to lift it and the cot by itself is 150 pounds. We lifted it together and manually pushed up with a person on the side to lift up the legs. We had to manually lift the patient ourselves. That was almost 650 pounds she and I lifted.”
Another benefit of the Stryker lift is the locking system on the cot. If an accident was to occur with a patient in the back the lift would stay locked into position. This would prevent the system from rolling and either hurting the patient or the emergency service workers on board. Simmons said, “They go on a track. They lift up themselves and then they slide in on their own. You can literally take a finger and push them. They also have a mechanism that goes with them that is called a universal plate and goes into the ambulance. They prevent the cots from coming out of the ambulance mechanism. The patient is secured, and it will not move.”
Information about future plans for EMS was provided by Simmons. This plan included the possibility of upgrading ambulances every three to four years. They would accomplish this by “flipping” out older ambulances for newer ones. Simmons said, “If we continue to do the AFG grants we should be able to look into doing what Randolph does by flipping them over. We are going to start flipping them.”
Rosenau asked, “How many Stryker cots are you going include in the grant?” Simmons answered by saying, “If I go for the grant I will do three total if I have no funding here. Because I would like to have 5-4, 5-3, 5-2 all equipped and 5-1 is going to be our transport. It is low enough that no matter the size of the patient we can get them safely in and out without hurting someone.”
Rosenau recapped the meeting saying, “At the next meeting (County Commission meeting) you will be on the agenda to bring us one cot and the accessories that has to go with that cot like the plate.” Simmons will also provide further information on the grant.
This was a work session and no decisions were made.
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