Area residents weighing 400 pounds or more could be transported by Mifflin Township Division of Fire more easily, thanks a new bariatrics cot and equipment that has been placed into service.
The bariatrics unit, which also could be used for other patients, will be known as Medical Support Unit 135 and will be housed at Station 131 on Rocky Fork Boulevard in Gahanna.
"M135 will be a valuable asset to the area, as obesity has reached epidemic proportions in central Ohio," said Tim Taylor, Mifflin Township fire chief. "The unit will save wear and tear on our equipment. It will be safer for our staff and the patient since the bariatrics cot decreases the amount of lifting for the firefighters to get the patient into the back of the vehicle. It provides a safer, more secure ride for the patient."
An existing department vehicle has been outfitted with the bariatrics cot and equipment, at a cost value of about $20,000.
The cot and equipment were donated to Mifflin Township as part of a grant acquired by the Central Ohio Trauma System, commonly known as COTS.
COTS acquired the grant for the purpose of aiding in transporting bariatric patients in excess of 600 pounds, the upper weight limit of a standard EMS cot.
A patient is considered to be bariatric when his or her weight exceeds 400 pounds or width exceeds 26 inches. The donated bariatric cot is capable of transporting patients up to 1,200 pounds.
Prior to having the bariatrics cot, the crew had to lift such patients into the back of the vehicle on a specially reinforced tarp, and the patients rode to the hospital on the floor of the vehicle with no way to secure them in an accident.
MSU135 will be available as a regional asset to central Ohio.
MSU135 joins MSU19, housed in the Clintonville area at Columbus' Fire Station 19. A similarly equipped unit was stationed recently in Delaware County.