GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Emergency Medical Services has recently attained a power loading stretcher and stair chair to assist in maneuvering patients out of difficult areas after having called 911.
According to Gallia EMS Director Larry Boyer, the power loading stretcher can lift up to 700 pounds.
“We’ve had a truck outfitted with the power system and the power (stretcher),” said Boyer. “Its power goes up and down. When you put it up against the back of the truck, there’s actually an arm that comes out and gets a hold of the cot and loads the cot for you. Anybody can load it and they don’t have to do anything but push it up against the ambulance. The stair chair is a device that used to have regular wheels on it. If you have to go upstairs in a house and you can’t take the (stretcher), you put that person in the stair chair and buckle them in to take it downstairs.”
The chair has tread tracks on it in order to assist squad members descend with a patient and avoid falls.
The county will “re-chassis” its ambulances as need comes. This means the old “box” on the back of the ambulance is kept, but the vehicle parts of the ambulance are replaced. Boyer said its much cheaper to maintain aging ambulances in that way.
Nearly all of the money to cover the new stretcher came from grant funding, said Boyer, furnished by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
“They give us a lot of grant money to save the backs of people to avoid back injuries,” said Boyer. “This is the only truck we have like that now. If funding becomes available, we’d like to outfit all (five) ambulances.”
Grants totaled around $40,000 for the stretcher and another $10,000 was received from a grant from Ohio’s EMS for the stair chair.
“We strive to provide our emergency service personnel the latest equipment to better serve and protect the citizens of Gallia County,” said Gallia Commissioner Harold Montgomery.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.