The North County Fire Protection District board voted 5-0 May 28 to award a contract to Stryker EMS for three power gurneys.
“We’re very excited,” said NCFPD division chief Gary Lane. “It’s something that our EMS committee as well as our health and safety committee had been looking at for quite some time.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has an Assistance to Firefighters Grant program which provided $350,000 to the North County Fire Protection District. NCFPD budgeted $33,000 of that to purchase the three power gurneys.
“Older gurneys always required multiple firefighters to lift them,” Lane said. “Firefighters will still assist the patient onto the gurney, but once there the gurney height can be adjusted by motor.”
The district’s Emergency Medical Services committee developed bid specification criteria and solicited bids from each vendor of power gurneys. Two bids were received from Stryker vendors and one bid was submitted by a regional Ferno distributor.
The Ferno bid was for the lowest amount at $29,531, but it did not comply with two of the bid specifications: the warranty period and dual locking front-end casters. “It would have required replacing the security devices in the back of the ambulance as well,” Lane said.
The Ferno bid was thus rejected and the Stryker bid of $35,704 was deemed to be the lowest responsive bid. “It did not require any modifications to our current ambulances,” Lane said.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant allocations require a 10 percent match, so the grant will cover $32,133 of that while NCFPD’s EMS supply budget will cover the $3,570 match.
The power gurneys are expected to reduce lifting injuries. “We think that this will have a positive health benefit and are looking forward to it,” Lane said.
The North County Fire Protection District transports approximately 2,400 patients annually.
“The gurneys are rated for the majority of patients that would be in the North County Fire Protection District with some possible exceptions,” Lane said.
In terms of weight the gurneys can accommodate up to 700 pounds, but bariatric patients may be too wide to fit on the gurneys. The Carlsbad and Oceanside fire departments have gurneys for those larger patients, as do seven ambulance companies throughout the county and two fire agencies in southern San Diego County.
“We have a couple of gurneys in the zone available for those types of patients,” Lane said.