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Ringdahl Ambulance Service rolls out first county bariatric ambulance

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Ringdahl Ambulance is now offering a specialized ambulance for bariatric patients in Ottertail county and the surrounding counties. The unit is designed to easily load and carry patients weighing more than 500 pounds and will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ringdahl Ambulance will dispatch the bariatric ambulance within 30 minutes notice and will staff it with four emergency medical technicians to deliver basic or advanced life support, depending on the response needed.

Ringdahl Ambulance will work with local EMS or fire departments, contingent upon on how the call originates, to get bariatric patients out of their homes and on their way to a medical facility or emergency department.

The need for bariatric ambulances has risen because of the rising obesity rates in the United States. Minnesota has the sixth worst ranking for obesity and the need is prevalent locally. That's why Ringdahl Ambulance is providing the solution to transporting obese patients.

To create this specialty ambulance a large dual wheel box ambulance was modified to include a ramp and remote-controlled electric winch system. The ambulance is also outfitted with a wider stretcher that can hold as much as 1,600 pounds compared to the stretcher being used by most EMS services with a 500 pound weight limit.

In the past, obese patients requiring specialized emergency transportation may have been embarrassed or reluctant to request help. Now patient's fears of falling or equipment breaking have been alleviated. The specialized ambulance may also decrease patient loading time. Sometimes EMS workers are on the scene for an hour or more getting obese patients out of their homes and on the way to help.

Utilizing this ambulance and equipment may also decrease "on the job" injuries for EMS workers who need to move patients safely and comfortable without sustaining injuries.

Hospitals, nursing homes, area ambulance services, medical facilities, as well as local agencies, may call Ringdahl Ambulance directly to schedule the bariatric ambulance.

Ringdahl Ambulance is a collaboration of four ambulance companies in Minnesota and North Dakota, Emergency Training Associates (ETA), and Para-Corp. Ringdahl Ambulance provides professional advanced life support ambulance services in Fergus Falls, and Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, and Lisbon and Jamestown, North Dakota. ETA provides emergency medical education to community members, businesses, first responders, law enforcements, EMS, and healthcare facilities.