You have seen an ambulance stretcher in action in the movies and on TV, but many people do not know how to properly use it. In fact, it is one of the most underrated tools in saving lives. If you are interested in learning how to operate an ambulance stretcher, the following instructions will guide you.
Place your stretcher on an even ground and secure it. After pulling out the stretcher from the ambulance and bringing it to the patient, regardless if there are two of you, you must put it on the ground. Secure the wheels using the brakes. This will prevent the stretcher from sliding away when the bed is raised and you are carrying the patient.
Extend its legs properly. Some paramedics would only let the legs drop to the floor but this could injure somebody. It is better to lift the bed off from the floor while pulling the lever or pushing the button that would release the legs. Do not bend over when lifting the bed. You could hurt your back if you will make a habit of doing it this way. Instead, use your legs as you lift the bed up. After raising the bed, secure the leg to the adequate height so that when you are transferring the patient, you will not have to carry the patient up or down that much. Securing the legs will also prevent the stretcher from collapsing when the patient is placed on it.
Assess your patient before putting him on it. When using the stretcher, the patient has a significant role that will allow the operators to use it the right way. Knowing your weight is very important since some stretcher can carry only so much weight. The paramedics should ask the patient his weight before doing something risky. Falls due to accidents can be liable for a lawsuit aside from being dangerous. If the patient is unconscious, you can make your estimates. If the patient is restless, apply extra restraints. If there is a deep wound on the upper torso, raise the head part of the bed. If there is a wound to the lower extremity of the body, then raise the lower part of the bed. There are buttons or levers specifically used for these extra functions.
Retrieve the legs. Before putting the patient in the ambulance, you have to retrieve the legs. Make sure that nobody’s fingers or clothes are anywhere near the leg, including yours and the patient’s. Pull the lever or push the button only when the other side of the stretcher is secured on the ambulance. Once the leg has recoiled, push the stretcher into the ambulance.
Secure the stretcher to the ambulance. Do not stop pushing the stretcher until everything is through the ambulance door. Sometimes, due to the urgency of the case, the stretcher would block the door from being locked. Although the next step to do is securing the stretcher to the ambulance’s locking mechanism, it would be safer for any fast moving vehicle to have all its doors locked.
As you might have noticed, there are steps that have correlations with other aspects in using the ambulance stretcher effectively. This is because the stretcher is not used as a separate tool; it is part of an organized emergency routine that would fail if not executed accordingly.