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Thursday, March 28, 2013

An EMS Trend That Isn’t Slowing Down: What it Means for Public Safety

Mary Zappetillo at the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board (EMSRB) provided us with Minnesota’s EMS “run numbers” for the years 2004-2012. The number of EMS calls in the state continues to increase at an average rate of 3.3% per year. The yearly totals jumped from 459,934 to 600,765 during this 8-year period, and this trend is expected to continue as Minnesota ages. The state demographer predicts that by 2020, Minnesota will have more people over the age of 65 than it has in K-12 schools.

More emergency runs mean more opportunities for injury. The LMCIT Loss Control team continues to see “patient handling” injuries on medical and accident calls as one area where responders get hurt. Unfortunately many of these injuries are the result of not only lifting, but lifting and twisting—and the resulting injuries (often to the lower back) are serious. Patients are seldom found on a level, flat surface or where they can be easily moved. And it may be anecdotal, but most of our first responders believe that their patients are not getting any smaller in size.

The Rescue Lift in action.
New Brighton Public Safety recently sent us a few lines from their overnight briefing.  An officer handling a call of a “lift assist” used their portable “Rescue Lift” to safely lift a 300-pound man who had fallen in the bathroom. The officer got the man back on his feet with no injuries to anyone. The Rescue Lift is designed for lift assists even when the patient is between the toilet and the bathtub. It is portable, and it is made in Minnesota.
Here is a link to additional information on the Rescue Lift: http://www.smthealthsystems.com/html/rescue_lift.html

We are interested in hearing what your service or department is doing to prevent and reduce injuries during patient handling, and while helping your citizens on lift assists. Please call or send me an email with your comments or thoughts.

Remember:

                                          Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time: “More From This Year's Safety & Loss Control Workshops”

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob

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