Patient Movement and Lifting Solutions for Medics and EMTs

By Alan M. Petrillo

Emergency medical services (EMS) equipment manufacturers offer a number of lifting solutions to allow safe and secure patient movement beyond the traditional Stokes and backboards as well as when loading a patient on a cot onboard an ambulance.

Jason Adair, regional sales manager for Braun Industries Inc., says that Braun has installed a number of patient lifting devices in the backs of ambulances. “The Stryker Power-LOAD® Cot Fastener System and the Ferno iNX® Integrated Patient Transport and Loading System each have a floor plate for their device that mates with the track system that we put in place in the floor of the module,” Adair says. “We also have installed the Mac’s Lift Gate bariatric lift system and the TranSafe Bariatric Cot and pneumatic lift gate.”

Randy Barr, brand manager for American Emergency Vehicles (AEV), says, “Patient loading is a number-one concern for most medics, and many of them like the Stryker Power-LOAD that slides out of the back of the ambulance and connects to the cot to electrically lift it and secure it in the patient module. It’s a one-person operation to get the cot into the truck, and to get it out of the truck the cot slides out and the medic pushes a button to drop the cot’s legs and then rolls it away.”<img src="/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2020/12/2011FApetPatient-p01.jpg" alt="merican Emergency Vehicles installed a Striker Power-LOAD® Cot Fastening System in the patient module of this ambulance.” />

1 American Emergency Vehicles installed a Striker Power-LOAD® Cot Fastening System in the patient module of this ambulance. (Photo courtesy of American Emergency Vehicles.)

Barr points out that the Ferno iNX system also is a one-person operation, which has the lifting technology built into the cot instead of the floor plate mechanism, allowing the iNX to be used on more than one truck. “We also have installed Ziamatic’s hydraulic lift built into a compartment for the big, heavy oxygen tanks that ambulances carry as well as a Tank Boss system that is on wheels and pushed to the truck to lift the oxygen tank into the compartment,” he says. Plus, Johnson Hilliard and AEV are building a hydraulic lift that slides out of the back of an ambulance and unfolds to the ground. The unit has safety rails and is used more in critical care and neonatal transport ambulances.”

Jake Spiegel, engineering R&D manager for Life Line Emergency Vehicles, says that 90% of Life Line’s ambulances are set up to take the Stryker Power-LOAD system. “We’ve also installed the Ferno iNX system, which is similar to the Stryker system but functions somewhat differently,” Spiegel points out, “as well as installed some bariatric lifts like TranSafe and Mac’s Lift Gate.”

The Ferno iNX Integrated Patient Transport and Loading System electrically rises and lowers into an ambulance module.

2 The Ferno iNX Integrated Patient Transport and Loading System electrically rises and lowers into an ambulance module. (Photo courtesy of Ferno.)

he HERODrag

3 The HERODrag® is a foldable, self-contained drag rescue device that can be used to move and lift patients or victims from a structure or an emergency scene. (Photo courtesy of Hero Systems Inc.)

Two medics use a Binder Lift to lift a patient from a stair chair.

4 Two medics use a Binder Lift to lift a patient from a stair chair. (Photo courtesy of Binder Lift LLC.)

Eric Haskell, marketing manager for Mobi Medical, says his company makes the Pro series battery powered stair chair that can be used to safely extricate a patient from the upper stories of a building. “The Pro series stair chair has a 36-volt motor and battery and a digital display and can collapse down to 11 inches so it can fit into an ambulance’s compartment,” Haskell says.

Michael Wielgat, president of Hero Systems Inc. and a battalion chief in the Chicago (IL) Fire Department, invented the HERODrag, a foldable, self-contained drag rescue device that can be used to move and lift patients or victims. “The design contains a series of rigid, internal plates that provide rigid patient protection to the head, neck, and torso,” Wielgat points out. “This allows medics to quickly and safely remove a patient up or down stairways or over debris-contaminated terrain. HERODrag has a five-point Raptor-type buckle that secures the patient’s torso in less than 30 seconds using two adjustable shoulder straps and two arm and one crotch straps. Folded size of the HERODrag is 9 inches wide, 9½ inches high, and 2¼ inches thick.”

Levigait LLC makes the People Mover Patient Lifting System.

5 Levigait LLC makes the People Mover Patient Lifting System. (Photo courtesy of Levigait LLC.)

Rick Binder, director of sales and marketing for Binder Lift LLC, says his company’s Binder Lift “is made from 100% medical-grade impervious vinyl for quick and efficient decontamination after every use. Our patented torso wrap design provides comfort and support for the patient, and the device has up to 32 handles to lift by, more than three times as many handles as any other device, so providers can harness their strength and effectively team lift with multiple providers.” The standard size Binder Lift has a 34- to 62-inch circumference, which typically fits a 100- to 350-pound patient, he notes, while the bariatric size has a 58- to 82-inch circumference, fitting a 350- to 800-pound patient.

Mike Phillips, founder of Levigait LLC, says his company makes the People Mover Patient Lifting System. “Back injuries are the number-one career-ending injury in EMS,” Phillips says. “The People Mover was especially developed for the challenges that health care professionals face in lifting and moving both ambulatory and bariatric patients.” He notes that the People Mover is designed for up to a 100-inch waist and pull tested to 1,250 pounds by an independent laboratory, is usable on smaller-statured patients and eliminates pressure points and skin tears, and is easily decontaminated by machine washing with mild detergent and bleach.

Barr notes that some medics are using the Mega Mover, essentially a tarp with handles around it, to move patients on a scene to safety, as well as the Med Sled, where a patient is strapped in and wrapped up securely. “It works well up and down steps,” he observes.


ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.

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