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County council votes to fast-track power-lift purchase for paramedics

New system will help paramedics load stretchers in and out of an ambulance
2021-02-24 Ambulance RB 2

County of Simcoe paramedics are getting an extra lift this year.

As part of Tuesday morning’s County of Simcoe council and committee of the whole meeting, councillors voted to approve spending an additional $717,000 to purchase a second power lift-assist device for paramedics services.

Council already approved $703,000 as part of the 2022 budget to purchase one to be used within the service.

According to a staff report on the issue, prepared by paramedic chief Andrew Robert, the power lift-assist device has become a standard safety item across the province with 87 per cent of Ontario paramedic services using a powered lift-assist system.

The system would assist paramedics in loading a stretcher in and out of an ambulance.

In the 2022 budget, county council approved funding to procure the first phase of power-lift assist devices, with the remainder of funds for phase two of the procurement to be included in the 2023 budget. Deployment of the equipment is scheduled for 2023.

In anticipation of a price increase in the first quarter of 2022 and a second inflationary price increase in the first quarter of 2023, staff recommended an accelerated procurement of both devices in 2022.

“We would save significant dollars by grouping together and purchasing the equipment at one time,” said general manager of health and emergency services Jane Sinclair.

“I think it’s a logical decision to blend the purchase and save the increase,” said Wasaga Beach Deputy Mayor Sylvia Bray. “My husband was a paramedic who was injured in the line of duty. I think equipment like this does help others not suffer the same fate.”

According to the report, research has shown lift assist devices minimize the opportunity for injury to staff. The device also protects patients from accidental stretcher drops and has been tested and proven to be more secure in the event of a collision involving the ambulance.