Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District Adds New Device to Prevent Employee Back Injury during a Lift-Assist Call

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Submitted By Brian Gorski, Fire Chief - Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District

In January 2017 all personnel were provided in-service training on a device to be used on all Lift-Assist type incidents. This new device is called the Binder Lift and when applied properly on a patient, personnel from 3 to 6 can each grab 2 of the lifting grab handles and easily lift a patient. This device comes in two sizes, standard which fits a chest range of 34” to 62” and bariatric which fits a chest range of 58” to 82”.

When this device is applied to a patient and the patient is lifted, the weight of the patient is distributed among the number of FF’s doing the lift-assist. For example, a 300 pound patient with 3 FF’s lifting, will each lift 100 pounds. The more FF’s involved in the lifting, the more the weight is divided up and it makes lifting much easier and allows for proper lifting technique, lifting with your legs and not your back. Additionally the Binder Lift device provides comfort to the patient during the lifting because the lifting is through the device and not by grabbing the patient’s arms and legs, which usually causes discomfort to the patient.

The District has placed a standard size Binder Lift on all first out apparatus and our Battalion Chief vehicle will carry the bariatric size. Before purchasing this device, our Safety Committee reviewed the product and case studies and then actually evaluated the Binder Lift during a 30 day period. Our Safety Committee along with others gave the Binder Lift outstanding ratings in preventing employee back injuries. In our profession we have a lifting related injury of over 21% times higher than the national average and incorrect lifting of a patient can cause a back injury that could rapidly end a career.Due to the Binder Lift device being used in an effort to reduce and prevent employee back injuries the District was able to submit the purchase to the Preferred Matching Training Incentive Program (Preferred TIPS) for approval and reimbursement of $2496.50. The Preferred TIPS program allows us the opportunity to research and implement safety programs and equipment faster in an effort to reduce injures and claims. Without the program we would have to wait and budget through our budget process, which could delay implementation up to 1 year. With Preferred TIPS we can implement in a matter of a few months.