I am part of an EMS group trying to develop stretching programs for personnel while on ambulance duty. Are there any ergonomics or stretching programs for personnel to use while on duty, prior to a call, or simply using the ambulance for stretching?
We hope every EMS tech understands the value of being physically fit in order to prevent work-related injuries and avoid the risk of early retirement due to musculoskeletal disorders. Stretching exercises in your workout will help you remain more flexible whenever heavy lifting is required. Thus proper stretching should be part of your warm-up routine and is an important part of remaining fit and preventing injuries. You may wish to obtain a copy of the book entitled Stretching by Bob Anderson for specific stretching routines. However, here's a word of caution from the Lift Doctor: Please also be aware that dozens of studies over many years have disproved conclusively the myth that healthcare workers can avoid injuries by being physically fit. Lifting patients is probably the main reason EMS personnel are ranked among the top ten most dangerous professions! Furthermore, patients are getting heavier and heavier, thus new lifting processes and equipment must be considered to protect both patients and EMS personnel against lifting and transferring injuries. The bottom line is, EMS personnel are NOT immune to injuries, thus they must begin to utilize similar assistive equipment and techniques currently being mandated in hospitals and nursing homes worldwide. Protecting your back protects your working longevity.
The Lift Doctor