12/20/14 Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio):
A state grant could mean fewer injuries for Springfield Township firefighters. A $18,500 grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers compensation has helped the Springfield Township Fire Department pay for a Mac’s Ambulance lift gate. The new lift is equipped with an electric motor and hydraulics with the capability to lift 1,300 pounds. The lift is designed and engineered for everyday use, and has the capability to handle patients who are increasingly overweight. Springfield Township Fire Chief Rob Leininger says handling overweight patients is one of the riskiest things firefighter paramedics do in terms of on-the-job injuries.”Most people think of fighting fires as being dangerous,” he said. “But most of our injuries happen when we are moving patients.”Heavy is now heavier, according to Leininger.” We used to describe a large patient as someone who weighed 300 pounds; now we see people who weigh 500 to 700 pounds, and that patient is going to be difficult to move. The new hydraulic lift eliminates some of the challenge and the risk.” Leininger said when a firefighter/medic is hurt moving a patient, it’s usually a shoulder or back injury, and can mean the loss of the employee for up to six months as they recover. It means worker’s compensation claims, medical claims and can lead to being short-staffed.”Springfield Township Firefighter/Paramedic Rob Kallendorf says he’s been on one run with a bariatric patient. The person weighed 900 pounds. Leininger said the squad with the lift and a special hydraulic cot travel to other communities as mutual aid when needed.” We’ve been out to Miamitown, Miami Township in Hamilton County and Lincoln Heights,” he said. Springfield Township worked closely with the Ohio Bureau of Workers compensation in filing the grant application. Trustee Gwen McFarlin said the township wanted to reduce medics’ exposure to injuries.