Industry News, Operations

Rocky Ridge Fire District Improves Safety by Updating Entire Fleet First Fire and EMS Department in State of Alabama to Implement Zero-Lift Solution

Birmingham, AL – With the help of an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Rocky Ridge Fire District is the first Fire and EMS Service in the state of Alabama to add iNX® Integrated Transport and Loading Systems™ to their entire fleet of transport units. The iNX was developed by FERNO to eliminate lifting during patient transport, enhancing caregiver and patient safety. 

EMS is one of the most injurious occupations. According to research conducted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, 1 in 4 EMS professionals will suffer a career-ending back injury within the first four years of service. The average worker’s compensation cost for a back injury is between $40,000-$80,000.

“Back injuries are always a concern. We’re getting more and more calls with heavier patients. We typically send additional people to bariatric calls to assist loading patients, which tax more fire department resources. The iNX will eliminate lifting for our crew, protecting our backs and saving us money on injuries,” said Michael Bartlett, Assistant Fire Chief of Rocky Ridge Fire District.

The iNX allows EMS professionals to navigate over obstacles, such as road barriers, and into an ambulance without lifting. Simple controls allow EMS professionals to safely raise, lower, load and unload patients up to 700-lbs with the push of a button. The system also provides best-in-class stability, increasing overall patient safety.

“We’ve noticed other people in our industry admiring our new stretchers. Our employees are excited about implementing our new, top-notch equipment and improving safety,” remarked Bartlett.

The iNX are safely secured into the back of each ambulance at the Rocky Ridge Fire District via the iNLINE® Cot Fastening System, bringing the department up-to-date with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J3027 and Federal Specification for Star-of-Life Ambulances KKK-A-1822F. Both standards address patient and cot retention in the transport unit.

Rocky Ridge Fire District also added two FERNO EZ-Glide® Stair Chairs with POWERTraxx® to their fleet. The EZ-Glide Stair Chair with POWERTraxx features a motorized track system that safely glides patients up or down stairs.  The chair and track system push and pull patient loads up to 500-lbs, increasing patient safety and reducing operator fatigue and risk of injury. 

“FERNO’s self-propelled tracks on the stair chair make all the difference. It’s like cutting your grass with a push mower versus a self-propelled mower. Like a self-propelled mower, the EZ-Glide Stair Chair with POWERTraxx does all the work for you. We can also now easily transfer patients from a stair chair to the iNX in the seated position. It is a lift-free, safe and seamless process for our employees,” said Bartlett.

Rocky Ridge Fire District was also able to purchase five new FERNO airway bags thanks to a local health foundation grant.

Rocky Ridge Fire District maintains an ISO (Insurance Services Office) Property Protection Class 1 rating which results in the lowest insurance premium possible for local residents and businesses. Rocky Ridge Fire District maintains a fully trained, paid staff of paramedics and firefighters who are available 24 hours every day to respond to the community’s needs.