Stryker PowerLoad system approved for EMS

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Safety for patients and Osceola County Emergency Medical Services personnel will further improve because of the purchase of a new Stryker PowerLoad and PowerPRO Cot system that was approved by the Osceola County Board of Commissioners at the Aug. 6 meeting.

The Stryker PowerLoad and PowerPRO Cot system is able to load a patient weighing up to 700 pounds into an ambulance without the excessive physical effort by an EMS employee. Using hydraulic and electronic operations, the system lifts the cot in and out of the ambulance, supports the cot until it touches the ground and keeps the patient stable through loading and unloading.

The system, made in the United States, features lifting arms, lights that indicate if the cot is in a locked position, cot release handles, a control panel and operation guide, a linear transfer system and an automatic inductive charging system.

Osceola County EMS Director Jeremy Bebee said the technology helps reduce the risk of on-scene accidents that can cause injury to both patients and emergency responders.

“The equipment is necessary to perform more efficiently and safely, along with protecting the patient’s dignity by not needing numerous staff to lift an obese patient,” Bebee said.

According to Citizens Management, Inc., which provides workman’s comp to EMS employees, there have been 21 “injuries reported or approximately 34 percent of the total injury frequency. Of these injuries, there were nine specific injuries that accounted for $31,045 total cost; or approximately $3,449 per back injury.”

Injuries including sprains and strains are the most common claims in the EMS industry, and the average back injury is about $20,000 per occurrence, Citizens Management Inc. added. Fifty percent of all EMS providers suffer from at least one back injury in their career.

Bebee recommended agreeing to a three-year finance plan with Stryker, which would allow the county to pay $47,000 each year with zero percent interest. Training and installation is included in the total price of $143,000 for all four units that will be placed into the four ambulances used most often. The units are expected to last approximately 10 years, he added.

Grant funding was researched last year, but was unavailable for the purchase of the equipment, he added.

Commissioners approved the purchase with commissioner Pam Wayne opposed. She said she believes grant money should have been researched earlier so there was a better chance to receive funds to help with the purchase.

In more business, members of the EMS Enhancement Northwest Quadrant Ad Hoc Committee were announced. The committee was formed to look at opportunities to increase emergency coverage in the townships of Burdell, Sherman, LeRoy and Rose Lake, as the newest EMS station will be built in Marion.

County commissioner Tammy Stoner will serve as committee chair and members include county commissioner Jill Halladay, Sherman Township Supervisor David Eggle, Rose Lake Township Clerk Kevin Draper, LeRoy-Rose Lake Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Edstrom, Tustin Fire Chief Bob Rose and Bebee.

“I think we’ve got good key people in place,” said Stoner, noting the members have an invested interest in the county’s northwest quadrant. “I hope to be able to get some fair and balanced coverage in this corner.”

The committee will first discuss ideas and look for direction on a new station, possibly focusing on using an existing building, she added.

In more news, commissioners agreed to seek bids for a janitorial contract since a $38,500 contract for Axium Services will be ending in December. Commissioners had the option to renew the current contract, but employees have noticed inconsistencies and security issues in the company’s performance. Commissioners also discussed their desire to look into having current county employees perform the needed tasks, even though it could cost more.

In other business, the commissioners, approved the purchase of 161 cases of paper for $4,500 from Integrity Business Solutions, LLC., and

Approved AT&T for fiber optic installation in four county buildings, which will be paid for by the State of Michigan in the amount of $15,700.