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Ga. county board takes a load off local responders

FORT VALLEY, Ga. The Peach County Commission took a load off the backs of its Emergency Medical Services personnel Tuesday.

The County Commission approved buying two new hydraulic-powered stretchers after EMS Director Alonzo Ford wheeled one into the meeting room at the county courthouse and demonstrated how the device could be used by just one person.

The battery-powered stretcher whirred as it easily lifted three EMS personnel and brought them back down.

Ford originally asked for four of the stretchers, one for each EMS vehicle. He said emergency workers routinely lift up to 2,000 pounds a day, and that lifting puts a lot of unnecessary strain on their backs.

"We can forestall back injuries, protect our backs by using this," Ford said.

The thorny issue of budgeting came into play as County Administrator Marcia Johnson reminded commissioners that $40,000 for four stretchers could not be stretched out over multiple budget years.

Commissioners agreed to purchase two now, and two more in the coming year.

"We've got two out of four. I'm smiling," said Ford after the vote.

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