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Stretchers to ease load for Fla. EMS workers

TAVARES, Fla. The back muscles of paramedics and emergency medical technicians in Lake and Sumter will soon get sorely needed relief, thanks to a state grant.

The state Department of Health recently awarded Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services $195,000 to purchase 36 pneumatic stretchers and accessories.

By pressing several electric-powered buttons, emergency workers will control how the special stretchers go up or down, making it easier to load patients into and out of ambulances.

"Lifting those [old] stretchers all day can be quite tiring," said Jim Judge, executive director of Lake-Sumter EMS. "So the staff is absolutely ecstatic about it."

Because the new equipment also will help prevent back injuries for emergency workers, it will reduce the agency's cost for staff medical-liability insurance.

The new stretchers will be available in about a month, Judge said.

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