Yarmouth Fire Department Receives Grant for New Stretchers

Yarmouth Firefighters demonstrate the new Stryker Power-Pro Stretcher load system

SOUTH YARMOUTH – The Yarmouth Fire Department has received a federal grant for the purchase and installation of four new stretcher systems which will soon accommodate each of the department’s ambulances.

The $191,404 grant comes courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of their Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase the new Stryker Power-Pro Stretchers which uses a battery-powered hydraulic system to raise and lower the patient with the simple push of a button.

With the Stryker to support the stretcher throughout the loading and unloading process, injury risk is reduced by requiring less strenuous lifting by emergency responders.

The Yarmouth Fire Department reports that, on average, 15 of their 64 member team suffer on-the-job injuries each year, and seven firefighters are out of work with injuries presently.

That means relying on overtime from other personnel and that can get expensive. According to YFD, this system could save them roughly $67,000 dollars per year by cutting back on injuries by up to 75 percent.

“Back injuries obviously affect staffing and overtime but it also interferes in nearly every aspect of daily living,” said Deputy Chief Jon Sawyer, “Overtime shifts are not only expensive, they also drive up provider fatigue, increasing healthy staff members risk of injury.”

Of the department’s roughly seven thousand calls each year more than 80 percent are for those seeking medical assistance verses actual fire related emergencies,

“It’s a reflection of the population,” says department Captain Jamie Armstrong, “more than one-third of the Yarmouth population is over the age of 65.”

At a presentation yesterday unveiling the new equipment, fire personnel demonstrated the old stretcher system, which required multiple rescuers to lift the patient into the ambulance and again to take them out upon arriving to the hospital. With many patients weighing in excess of 200 pounds, this can make for heavy lifting and lead to injury,

“There’s this thing with the fire department, and we really take it to heart, this guy comes to work, we’re going to send him home the same way,” said Sawyer, “We want to take it a step further, this guy starts his career her, we’re going to send him home a little heavier, a little tireder, but he’s going to be home up walking around and healthy.”

By DAVID BEATTY, CapeCod.Com NewsCenter

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