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Council OKs power-lift cots for ambulances to cut down on injuries

March 4, 2009

Wauwatosa will equip its ambulances with power-lift cots in an effort to reduce patient-lifting injuries and the overtime costs associated with filling for a worker who has been hurt.

The Common Council last night approved spending nearly $31,000 on three of the automated cots that make it easier to transfer a patient in and out of an ambulance, an activity that has resulted in an average $7,390 in annual workers compensation payments for the city, according to a weekly memo from City Administrator James Archambo. That number does not include the costs associated with lost time and overtime payments.

Alderman Brian Ewerdt said he was against the expenditure when it came before the Budget & Finance Committee last week because staff did not provide numbers that showed a cost-savings benefit. After he learned that each cot was supposed to have a 10-year life, the possible $40,000 in savings changed his mind.

He and several other council members encouraged city staff to look for possible savings due to ergonomics in other city departments for savings.

The Fire Department purchased one power-lift cot in 2008 to test the technology.

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