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Founded in 2017, Tingeer is a Zhangjiagang City-based manufacturer specializing in medical stretchers, emergency products, and hospital furniture. With over 50 product varieties, we offer OEM services and export globally, earning a positive international reputation.
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Essential Guide: How to Properly Use an Ambulance Stretcher

Essential Guide: How to Properly Use an Ambulance Stretcher
Essential Guide: How to Properly Use an Ambulance Stretcher

Ensuring safe patient transfers in emergency medical services is crucial. An ambulance stretcher is critical, but proper use is vital. Assess the patient, adjust the stretcher height, secure the patient, and communicate effectively for a smooth transfer. Following these steps ensures swift and secure patient transport.

Understanding the Basics of an Ambulance Stretcher

Understanding the Basics of an Ambulance Stretcher

Key Features of a Typical Ambulance Stretcher

An ambulance stretcher is designed to facilitate the rapid and safe transport of patients during emergencies. The following features are typically found in these stretchers:

  • Adjustable Height: Allows the stretcher to be raised or lowered to facilitate patient transfer.
  • Locking Mechanisms: Secure the stretcher during transport to prevent movement.
  • Wheels: Enable easy maneuverability in various environments.
  • Foldable Legs: This feature helps quickly load the stretcher into an ambulance.
  • Safety Belts: Ensure the patient is securely fastened during transport.
  • Weight Capacity: Knowing the maximum weight the stretcher can support is essential.
  • Durability and Cleanliness: The stretcher must be made of materials that are easy to clean and disinfect and robust enough to withstand repeated use.

Choosing the Correct Stretcher for Different Emergency Situations

Selecting the suitable ambulance stretcher depends on the specific requirements of the emergency:

  • Bariatric Stretchers: For patients who are significantly overweight, stretchers with higher weight capacities and wider frames are necessary.
  • Pediatric Stretchers: Designed for transporting infants and children, featuring adjustable side rails and securement devices.
  • Compact and Foldable Stretchers: Ideal for difficult-to-access areas or limited storage space.
  • All-Terrain Stretchers: Equipped with larger wheels or tracks for rough terrains.

The Importance of Wheel, Lock, and Handle Mechanisms

  • Wheels: The size and type of wheels affect the stretcher’s maneuverability across different surfaces. Larger wheels can handle uneven terrain more effectively.
  • Lock Mechanisms: Ensures the stretcher remains stationary during patient transfer and in the ambulance, enhancing safety.
  • Handle Mechanisms: Adjustable and ergonomically designed handles are crucial for the physical well-being of EMS personnel, allowing them to maintain proper posture while moving the stretcher.

In summary, it is vital to understand the critical features of an ambulance stretcher and select the appropriate type for each emergency. The mechanics of the wheels, locks, and handles play a significant role in the stretcher’s functionality, ensuring patient safety and comfort during transport.

Preparing the Stretcher for Patient Transport

Preparing the Stretcher for Patient Transport

Adjusting the Stretcher to the Correct Height and Position

Proper adjustment of the stretcher height and position is critical for patient safety and comfort and for the ergonomics of EMS personnel. To adjust the stretcher to the correct height and position:

  1. Identify the Appropriate Height: Consider the patient’s condition and the need for ease of access. Lower heights are typically used for patient transfer, while a slightly elevated position may be preferred for specific medical procedures.
  2. Engage Height Adjustment Mechanism: Use the stretcher’s hydraulic or mechanical adjustment features. These may involve foot pedals or handles that allow you to raise or lower the stretcher smoothly.
  3. Check Positioning: Ensure the stretcher is in the optimal position for patient care. This includes adjusting the backrest for comfort or medical requirements.

Securing the Locks to Prevent the Stretcher from Moving

Once the stretcher is aligned correctly:

  1. Engage the Wheel Locks: Most stretchers have locking mechanisms on the wheels to prevent unwanted movement. Firmly press the lock mechanism, which is usually a pedal or lever located near each wheel.
  2. Verify Stability: Try gently pushing the stretcher to ensure it remains stationary after engaging the locks. This step is crucial to prevent accidents during patient transfer.

Ensuring the Safety Straps Are in Place and Secure

Safety straps are essential for preventing patient falls or shifting during transport:

  1. Inspect the Straps: Before placing the patient on the stretcher, check that all safety straps are functional, not damaged, and are correctly fastened to the stretcher.
  2. Secure the Patient: Use the safety straps to secure the patient firmly but comfortably. Standard practice involves securing the torso and legs, with additional straps used as needed.
  3. Reassess the Tightness: After the patient is secured, double-check the tightness of the straps. They should be snug enough to prevent movement but not cause discomfort.

By meticulously following these steps, healthcare professionals can ensure the stretcher is adjusted, secured, and prepared appropriately for safe and efficient patient transport.

How to Safely Move a Patient onto the Ambulance Stretcher

How to Safely Move a Patient onto the Ambulance Stretcher

Techniques for Minimizing Injury While Lifting a Patient

Safely transferring a patient onto an ambulance stretcher requires meticulous attention to ergonomics and coordination to minimize the risk of injury to both healthcare providers and the patient. Prioritize the following strategies:

  1. Utilize Proper Lifting Mechanics: EMS personnel should bend at the knees and keep the back straight while lifting, using the strength of leg muscles rather than the back to lift. This reduces strain on the back and mitigates the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
  2. Coordinate as a Team: Before lifting, team members should communicate clearly about the lift plan, ensuring everyone is prepared, knows their role, and understands the timing to act in unison. This coordination is essential for a smooth, strain-free lift.
  3. Ensure Even Weight Distribution: When lifting or carrying the stretcher, ensure the weight is evenly distributed among the team members. This prevents overload on any single individual, reducing the likelihood of strain injuries.

Coordinating Team Efforts: How EMS Personnel Work Together

The efficiency of patient transfer relies heavily on the coordinated efforts of the EMS team. Effective communication and role allocation are vital components:

  1. Pre-lift Planning: Assign roles (e.g., lead coordinator, side lifters) and outline the lifting process to all team members, ensuring clarity and understanding.
  2. Synchronized Actions: On a given signal (usually verbal), all team members execute their part of the lift synchronized. This ensures the patient is moved smoothly and the load is evenly distributed.
  3. Continuous Communication: Throughout the transfer, maintain open lines of communication, adjusting as needed for any unforeseen issues or patient discomfort.

Utilizing the Proper Way to Pull the Handle and Position the Stretcher

When preparing to move the stretcher, the correct handling and positioning are crucial for safety and ease of transport:

  1. Adjusting the Handle Height: Before moving the stretcher, adjust the handles to a height that allows the team members to maintain a straight back. This adjustment is vital to prevent overreaching or bending that can lead to injury.
  2. Positioning for Stability and Control: Ensure the stretcher is positioned so that EMS personnel walk forward in a controlled manner, never pulling it from behind. This positioning provides better control, visibility, and the ability to respond quickly to any obstacles.
  3. Pulling Techniques: When moving the stretcher, use a firm grip and engage core muscles. When possible, push the stretcher instead of pulling to reduce the strain on the back and maintain a more natural body posture.

By adhering to these guidelines, EMS personnel can significantly reduce the risk of injury while ensuring safe and effective patient transport.

Transporting the Patient: Moving the Stretcher to the Ambulance

Transporting the Patient: Moving the Stretcher to the Ambulance

How to Operate the Stretcher’s Wheels for Smooth Transport

Operating the stretcher’s wheels proficiently is essential for smooth patient transport, especially when navigating diverse hospital terrains. To ensure seamless movement:

  1. Engage Wheel Locks: Before placing the patient on the stretcher, ensure the wheel locks are engaged to prevent unintended movement. This is a critical safety measure.
  2. Unlock Wheels for Transport: Disengage the wheel locks before moving to allow fluid motion. Check that all wheels are freely moving and that none are obstructed.
  3. Steering Mechanism: Modern stretchers may be equipped with steering mechanisms on one or more wheels to assist in maneuvering around corners and through tight spaces. Ensure the steering is enabled for more straightforward navigation.

Managing the Stretcher on Uneven or Challenging Terrain

Navigating uneven or challenging terrain requires careful consideration to preserve patient stability and safety:

  1. Assess the Route: Before moving, visually assess the path for any obstacles or uneven surfaces and plan the approach accordingly. This may involve identifying smoother alternate routes.
  2. Maintain a Steady Pace: When traversing rugged terrain, moving at a steady, controlled pace is essential to avoid jostling the patient. Sudden movements or changes in speed can compromise stability.
  3. Use Additional Support: In particularly challenging terrain, enlist additional personnel to support the stretcher’s sides or ends, providing extra stabilization and strength during transport.

Steps for Locking the Stretcher Safely into the Ambulance

Securing the stretcher within the ambulance is a crucial final step, ensuring patient safety during transport to a medical facility:

  1. Align the Stretcher: Carefully align the stretcher with the ambulance’s loading mechanism. This often involves engaging guide rails or tracks to direct the stretcher to its locked position.
  2. Engage the Locking Mechanism: Once the stretcher is entirely inside the ambulance and aligned, engage the integrated locking mechanism. This usually involves a lever or button that secures the stretcher to the ambulance floor.
  3. Confirm the Lock is Engaged: Before proceeding, it is imperative to double-check that the lock is fully engaged. This may involve a visual inspection or a physical test to ensure the stretcher is immobile.

By diligently following these steps for wheel operation, terrain management, and stretcher locking, EMS personnel can vastly improve the safety and efficiency of patient transport, adhering to the highest standards of patient care and injury prevention.

Advanced Tips for Using an Ambulance Stretcher Efficiently

Advanced Tips for Using an Ambulance Stretcher Efficiently

Tips for Emergency Medical Personnel to Optimize Stretcher Use

  1. Ergonomic Practices: Ensuring that EMS staff are trained in proper lifting techniques can significantly reduce the risk of back and musculoskeletal injuries. Techniques include bending at the knees, keeping the back straight, and lifting with the legs rather than the back.
  2. Regular Training: Frequent drills and training sessions on the correct use of stretchers and equipment can help prevent improper handling that may cause injury to patients and EMS staff.
  3. Equipment Inspection: Inspect the stretcher before and after each use for any signs of wear or damage. Ensure that wheels, locks, and folding mechanisms function correctly to prevent accidents.
  4. Use of Safety Straps: Always secure the patient with safety straps to prevent falls. Adjust the straps according to the patient’s size and condition to ensure they are snug but not restrictive.
  5. Communication: Clear and constant communication among EMS team members is vital during patient transport. Announcing actions like “lifting,” “moving,” or “lowering” ensures coordinated efforts, minimizing the risk of injury.
  6. Adapt to Patient’s Condition: Tailor your approach to the patient’s needs. For instance, if a patient has a spinal injury, use a spinal board in addition to the stretcher to provide the necessary support during transport.

Preventing Common Injuries to Both Patients and EMS Staff

Preventing injuries primarily revolves around proper training, regular equipment checks, and adherence to safety protocols. By maintaining situational awareness and using equipment as designed, EMS personnel can mitigate risks to themselves and those in their care.

Maintenance and Care for Your Ambulance Stretcher

  1. Routine Checks: Implement daily and post-use inspections to identify potential issues with the stretcher mechanisms or structural integrity.
  2. Cleaning and Disinfection: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the stretcher, particularly after transporting a patient, to maintain hygiene standards and prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Lubrication: Regularly lubricate moving parts such as wheels and locking mechanisms to ensure they operate smoothly.
  4. Repair or Replace Damaged Components: Any identified damage should be addressed immediately. To ensure the highest safety and performance standards, use only manufacturer-approved parts for replacements.
  5. Storage: Store the stretcher in a dry, clean area to prevent exposure to elements that could degrade its components.

By focusing on these areas, EMS personnel can enhance ambulance stretchers’ safety, efficiency, and longevity, ensuring that they remain reliable tools for patient transport and care.

Choosing and Maintaining Your Ambulance Stretcher Equipment

Choosing and Maintaining Your Ambulance Stretcher Equipment

Selecting the Right Stretcher for Your Ambulance Service

Choosing the appropriate stretcher for your ambulance service is a critical decision that impacts the safety and efficiency of patient transport. Important parameters to consider include:

  • Weight Capacity: Ensure the stretcher can safely support the range of patient weights you typically encounter.
  • Adjustability: Look for stretchers with various height settings and positions to accommodate medical situations and comfort needs.
  • Mobility: Select models with high-quality, durable wheels that move smoothly across different terrains.
  • Compatibility: The stretcher should be compatible with your ambulance model to ensure secure anchoring during transport.
  • Ease of Use: Features like one-handed controls and quick-release mechanisms can significantly enhance efficiency and safety.
  • Durability: Opt for stretchers constructed with robust materials that can withstand frequent use and cleaning.

Essential Maintenance Tips from Coast Biomedical Equipment

To maintain your stretcher in optimal condition, consider these essential maintenance tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Conduct frequent inspections to check for wear and tear or mechanical issues.
  • Immediate Repairs: Address any identified issues immediately to prevent them from escalating into more significant problems.
  • Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance and cleaning instructions to avoid accidental damage.
  • Training: Ensure that all EMS staff are adequately trained on the correct usage and maintenance procedures to extend the life span of the equipment.

Upgrading Your Stretcher: When and Why

Upgrading your stretcher equipment is necessary when:

  • Technological Advancements: New technology offers better safety features, improved ergonomics, or enhanced patient comfort.
  • Wear and Tear: Excessive wear or irreparable damage can compromise the safety and functionality of the stretcher.
  • Operational Needs Change: The acquisition of new ambulance models or changes in the types of calls commonly responded to might require different stretcher features.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Upgrades may be necessary to meet evolving compliance standards or certification requirements.

Selecting the suitable stretcher, adhering to rigorous maintenance routines, and understanding when upgrades are needed are crucial steps in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of your ambulance service’s patient transport capabilities.


  1. – “How to use stretchers and cots to their full potential”

    • Source Type: Online Article
    • URL: How to use stretchers and cots to their full potential
    • Summary: This article provides a detailed overview of best practices for utilizing manual and electric stretchers and cots within the EMS context. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the equipment’s capabilities, including two-stage lift operations and the ergonomic benefits of powered stretchers. The article serves as a practical guide for EMS personnel, focusing on enhancing efficiency and safety in patient transport.
  2. Coast Biomedical Equipment – “6 Tips for Safely Handling an EMS Stretcher”

    • Source Type: Blog Post
    • URL: 6 Tips for Safely Handling an EMS Stretcher
    • Summary: This blog post outlines six crucial tips for the safe handling and operation of EMS stretchers, addressing aspects such as proper placement, securing the patient, and teamwork during stretcher navigation. It provides actionable advice for EMS professionals to minimize the risk of injury to patients and responders. The source is precious for its focus on operational safety and adherence to best practices in emergency medical situations.
  3. Virginia Community College System (VCCS) – “EMS Safety, Stretchers, and Stretcher Handling”

    • Source Type: Academic Publication
    • URL: EMS Safety, Stretchers, and Stretcher Handling
    • Summary: This academic document explores the evolution of stretcher technology, from manual lift stretchers to modern electrically operated models, and discusses their impact on EMS safety and efficiency. It offers an in-depth analysis of stretcher handling techniques, the importance of ergonomics, and the integration of safety features. This source is essential for readers interested in the technical and historical aspects of stretcher use in EMS, providing a comprehensive understanding of stretcher handling implications on responder well-being and patient care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I properly use an ambulance stretcher?

A: To properly use an ambulance stretcher, always ensure the stretcher is on level ground before use. Ensure the stretcher is checked to ensure the brake is engaged and the stretcher is safe to use. When loading a patient onto the stretcher, personnel often use this type of stretcher to come from the foot end. Remember to let go of the stretcher handle at the foot end and carefully lower the patient onto the stretcher.

Q: What should I do if the patient’s foot gets caught in the stretcher?

A: If the patient’s foot gets caught in the stretcher, do not panic. Gently move the stretcher way a little to release the foot. Always be cautious to avoid injury to the patient when handling such situations.

Q: How should I move the patient from one place to another using the stretcher?

A: When moving the patient from one place to another using the stretcher, remember to use the muscles to operate the stretcher. Taking the patient’s weight correctly is essential, and avoiding any sudden movements that could cause harm. Always ensure the stretcher is pushed and not pulled for the safest transportation.

Q: Why are stretchers designed with a handle at the foot end?

A: Stretchers are designed with a handle at the foot end to allow personnel to maneuver the stretcher carefully and move the patient onto it more efficiently. This handle allows for better control and prevents injury to the patient during the transfer process.

Q: Is it necessary to secure the stretcher with a bolt before transporting a patient?

A: Before transporting a patient, the stretcher must be secured with a bolt to ensure it remains stable and does not accidentally collapse or shift during movement. Always make sure the stretcher is locked correctly and check for safety measures before transportation.

Q: What are the different types of stretchers available for ambulance use?

A: Ambulance stretchers come in many different designs and styles to accommodate the various needs of patients and emergencies. Some common types include stretchers with adjustable heights, folding stretchers, scoop stretchers, and stair stretchers, each designed for specific uses and functionalities.

Recommended Reading: How Does an Ambulance Stretcher Work?

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