The Finance Committee approved funds for two new stretchers for the Ledyard Volunteer Emergency Squad Wednesday but these are no ordinary stretchers.
The Stryker Power Load lift system is a battery-operated lift system that lifts and rolls a stretcher into the ambulance and "basically saves us from killing our backs lifting people who are heavier,” said LVES Director Jake Troy.
After hearing rave reviews from neighboring ambulance services LVES partnered with Mystic River Ambulance to purchase two for themselves and three for Mystic River. So, what normally would cost approximately $25,000 each was reduced to around $19,000 each with a volume discount.
“We’re really looking forward to this,” said Troy. “They basically lift the patient automatically into the ambulance without us having to lift the patient.”
The stretchers fit onto a lift system that will elevate the stretcher and patient up to the ambulance onto a track system where emergency workers can just push the stretcher into the ambulance, as if were on a conveyer belt. The system is designed to lift people weighing up to 700 lbs.
Troy explained to the Finance Committee, “While our current stretchers have wheels that retract on their own, the volunteer still has to hold the entire weight of the patient and stretcher in the air while loading the patient and waiting or the wheels to fully retract. The system completely eliminates the need to hold the stretcher in midair when loading the patient into the back of the ambulance.”
There are currently 65 Stryker Power Load lift systems installed in ambulances around the state of Connecticut and the LVES membership voted unanimously to buy the stretchers, which are becoming an industry standard, according to Troy.
The money for the stretchers will come out of LVES “Fund 24” which is basically a savings account for income collected from insurance and Medicare, etc for ambulance services.
The lift system will be purchased without any town money whatsoever and according to Troy, “this is a perfect example of how we put ‘Fund 24’ money to use for the town.”