More than 350 Alberta Health Services (AHS) ground ambulances will be equipped with power stretchers and load systems. The stretchers use a battery-powered hydraulic system to lift up to 317 kilograms (700 pounds) safely and without physical strain.
“Alberta paramedics dedicate their work every day to saving lives. We want to make sure they can perform their jobs without risk of injury,” said Brandy Payne, associate minister of health. “Installing this new lift technology will mean a safer workplace for paramedics, by helping protect them from work-related physical strain and injury.”
Alberta Health Services installed electronic lifts in eight inter-facility transfer vehicles in 2015 as part of a pilot project. During that time, not a single lift-related injury was reported by staff using the new equipment. Over that same 18-month period, 84 patient-handling injuries were reported amongst EMS staff working on vehicles without the lifts.
“Repetitive lifting is one of the leading causes of injuries to EMS practitioners. The new power stretchers and lift system will reduce the frequency of front-line crews having to physically lift patients in and out of ambulances, reducing the risk of injuries,” said Darren Sandbeck, EMS chief paramedic, Alberta Health Services.
The government is investing $20 million to equip AHS ground ambulances with the power stretchers and load systems. The equipment will also be standard issue in all new AHS ground ambulances.
Installation of the new equipment will begin this summer on ambulances across the province with the work anticipated to be complete by spring 2018.