Souhegan Valley Ambulance seeks funds for new lift system

STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 09-04-2023 2:36 PM

The Souhegan Valley Ambulance Service is launching a fundraising campaign to purchase a new $40,000 power loader system to help lift patients and stretchers into the ambulance.

In a letter that will be sent to all residents of New Ipswich and Greenville, Souhegan Valley Board of Directors Chair James Hicks said the system would be installed in the service’s second ambulance. The loader includes a batter-powered hydraulic lift that supports the cot or stretcher during loading and unloading into the ambulance. The cost also includes installation of the system and control panel.

Earlier this year, the service replaced a previous ambulance that was not reliable with a new vehicle. Hicks said a similar system came installed in the ambulance, and since using it regularly, the department has noticed the benefits.

“This new ambulance came with a Stryker PowerLoad system, which assists our crews with loading and unloading patients into the back of our ambulance for transport,” Hicks stated. “Since using the PowerLoad system, it has become apparent to us that it is a safer, more-effective way to load our patients.”

The crews are now looking to raise funds for a second system to install on the department’s other ambulance, which doesn’t have a similar system.

Hicks stated the system is both safer for patients and for the crews that work the ambulance, taking into account that one of the leading injuries sustained by EMTs and paramedics is back injuries, particularly lower back strain from lifting.

“This system will help alleviate much of the lifting associated with our jobs by doing the lifting for us, which will, in turn, lower expected back injury,” Hicks wrote.

Keeping staff in good condition is particularly crucial for smaller organizations such as Souhegan Valley Ambulance, as like many other ambulance services, it is struggling to recruit.

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“Even one EMT being out of work for a back injury will significantly impact the service,” Hicks stated.

The Souhegan Valley Ambulance Service is a nonprofit organization contracted by the towns of Greenville and New Ipswich for their ambulance service. Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent to the ambulance bay at P.O. Box 95 in New Ipswich.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.