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WMFD EMS division going strong in ‘16

WMFD EMS division going strong in ‘16


WMFD EMS division going strong in ‘16

Department improving equipment to meet standards

At the mid-year mark City Emergency Medical Service revenue was running strong in West Memphis.

EMS Division Chief Chris Brogdon provided the figures during the June Fire Commission meeting. The chief also set a price tag to meet government standards.

The city needs a loading rail system for its Stryker brand ambulance cots. The FDA and the DOT maintain safety requirements to protect patients from further injury in the event of a crash. The rail system combines to lock the cot into place to prevent patient and medic injuries due to shifting.

Furthermore, OSHA insists on the rail system to reduce the number and severity of back injuries to those bearing the stretcher.

The WMFD has recorded back injuries while picking up patients loaded onto a gurney.

The rail system wenches the stretcher into the ambu- lance on the rails, reducing the number of times medics need to lift and maneuver the loaded cot.

Brogdon told the commission that Stryker was the only company that had the package meeting all the government requirements and put them on notice that he’d be asking city council to waive competitive bidding for the railed loading system for the city’s second oldest ambulance.

The Fire Department put a new ambulance into service this spring that was already equipped to meet the new standards. Retrofitting the second newest ambulance will be a five figure expense.

“Last July the DOT specs said any new ambulance you buy has to have a loading system in it,” said Brogdon. “So the new ambulance has one. We budgeted for one to be put into the second newest ambulance.”

The chief said the loading system reduced back stress and described how it works.

“You push the stretcher up to the back of the ambulance, hook it up and press the button,” said Brogdon, “the wheels come up and you just push it in. There is no more holding it, and less back labor. The only time we will have to pick up a patient is to put them on that stretcher and putting them on a bed at the hospital.

“We are trying to reduce Workman’s Comp injuries,” said Fire Chief Wayne Gately. “Most of our injuries the last five years have been caused by picking up and moving stretchers.”

Chairman Tracy Catt wanted to hear the costs.

The rail system has a ten year operating life span.

“It is $22,991 for the system and a $2,000 installation cost,” replied Brogdon. “So it comes in just under $25,000.”

The City requires expediters over $25,000 to be bid out. Chief Gately asked that bidding be waived for the exclusive rail loading system.

“Normally we’d bid this out,” said Gately. “But we need to ask city council (to waive) competitive bidding because this company is the only one that meets all the standards.”

Brogdon also reported revenue for EMS services amounted to $174,331 throughout he first half of the year. But the department is in search of a new collection agency. The previous one has gone out of business according to the chief.

By John Rech

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