Earlier in May, On Time Transport had the pleasure of having Bryan Fass from Fit Responder talk to our field supervisor team. The goal of meeting with Bryan was to evaluate where the company stands and how it can improve in terms of not only preventing injuries, but also developing a stretching and lifting program that new employees (EMTs) and preexisting employees (EMTs) can incorporate into their work routine. The seminar is designed to teach the employer proper tools and knowledge that can then be passed on to their employees. By using this program, the employee is given the knowledge and skills to practice safe body mechanics and prevent injuries.
During our time with Bryan Fass, the day was split up into two sections; morning stretches and afternoon lifting. One of the main focuses learned in the morning session was "Self Myofascial & Trigger Point" or, in simpler terms, massaging an area where you may have muscle tension or pain. We learned how an everyday tennis ball can be very beneficial when it comes to stimulating a muscle in order to achieve relaxation and also increase elongation of soft tissue. This technique in particular can be used to ultimately reduce muscle tension from one's shoulders, legs, and lower back when using the tennis ball against the wall. Also, by incorporating parts of the ambulance into our stretching routines, we were able to stretch our hamstrings and hip rotation. The goal when stretching before each shift is to help limit the risk of injury. By using additional tools (i.e. a tennis ball or ambulance) the stretches are easily integrated and accessible in the routine of the employee. The course then went deeper into the topic of the benefits of correct posture. The key is to make sure that you are always using correct posture and stance when moving. This part of the seminar demonstrated how the wrong posture can put you at a greater risk of injury when doing any activity from sitting or lifting and moving.
The afternoon integrated what we learned from the morning and added new information to our lifting procedures. It ultimately showed how, when using correct posture, you have less strain on your body and are at smaller risk of injury. We were also shown how it is very important to use any tools given to an EMT that will put us at lesser risk of injury when lifting a patient (i.e. reeves and/or backboard). For an example, when lifting a patient from the floor level without reeves, we can put ourselves at a greater risk of injury by straining our backs. Bryan showed us that it is important to always remember to "use the tools, don't be the tool", and also slow down to ensure that proper body mechanics and posture are being used both when preparing for and then lifting a patient. It is imperative that we communicate with our partner(s) as well as replace the "1-2-3" that is usually voiced when lifting with "Ready-Set-Lift." When we slow down to take the time to properly position our bodies and communicate with our partner, we now have reduced chances of an injury occurring.
Here's what a few of our team members had to say about their experience.
Joe B. from On Time - "I believe the class was very informative and it taught us safer ways to do our job on a daily basis. As we get older as responders we need to protect ourselves from injuries. If you follow what was taught your chances of no injuries will be much better than when you did those lifts or moves incorrectly. I feel the staff will take away the ability to understand stretching techniques as well as how to make their job safer and easier by using these new methods. Brian is a great instructor and his methods will help many responders."
Ben G. from On Time - "I learned a lot of really great things from the Fit Responder class with Brian. I had injured myself last fall, and I learned all of the things that I did wrong. Brian was really insightful and gave a lot of really great feedback while teaching that I can pass along. The training was one of the most enjoyable I have had in quite some time."
Martin O. From On Time - "After being somewhat skeptical at first my opinion changed greatly when we went into the physical stretches and the aches and pains I had been feeling beforehand were greatly reduced. We did passive and active stretches as well as foam rolling which has many physical benefits. We also went on into lifting and moving ergonomics and it expanded what I already knew. Finally we were shown a device called the Taylor Titan Slide which is a great tool to use in certain situations to reduce the potential for injury in a patient move. Overall it was a great class and I look forward to continue using it in my personal and professional life as well as seeing it implemented here at On Time."