In each issue of our customer newsletter, we’ll take you inside the product development process at Ferno. We invite you to tell us which product or feature you’d like to know more about. Just use the comment area of our newsletter survey.
This month we put the spotlight on the EZ Glide® Stair Chair with PowerTraxxTM. As Tom Cox describes in this month’s Tips from the Trainer column, Ferno’s powered stair chair attracted a lot of attention at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas last month. So we asked our product development team to tell us more about how they developed the PowerTraxx system.
Q: What was your number one goal for the PowerTraxx system?
A: Safety – for both the operator and the patient. Being in this industry for 10, 20, 30 years, we have heard so many stories about back injuries. So many of those stories involve moving a patient up or down stairs. The obesity issue makes those injuries even more common. Obviously we took a big step forward with the EZ Glide, but we wanted to take it to the next level.
Q: Which particular safety features were must-haves in the product design?
A: Well, some of the features are part of the chair itself – like the extended lift bars. But for the PowerTraxx system, we focused on steady power during both ascent and descent. We wanted to ensure that the chair is bearing the load – not the operator. The operator is not lifting, but rather guiding the chair as the motor does the work. That, of course, means we needed a powerful motor that would not bog down.
Q: Are there any features that were specific customer requests?
A: Yes. Off the top of my head, one is the ability to pause while going up or down. The motor has enough power to hold the chair in place if the operators need to stop. Also, we had current EZ Glide owners tell us they wanted a powered chair. So to limit their costs, we made sure the power system could be added on to an existing chair.
Q: What kind of feedback have you received since the EZ Glide with PowerTraxx was introduced?
A: My favorite is from the customer who said anyone who sees the PowerTraxx in action and isn’t impressed is “an idiot”! We’ve also heard from several customers who say their crews fight over who gets to use the PowerTraxx in their vehicle. But I think the most important feedback is when customers tell us “PowerTraxx saves their backs.” [Editor’s note: Following is the actual quote from Jeff Hawkins, Deputy Chief of the Taney County Ambulance District in Missouri: “More than half of our PowerTraxx uses are to bring patients up stairs to the ground level. This chair saves our Medic's backs and their patients feel more secure during the transfer. The Ferno PowerTraxx is single-handedly the best investment we have made toward patient and provider safety.” Watch the interview on our YouTube page]
Q: So what’s next for your team?
A: Oh, we’re busy. But you’ll just have to wait to find out what’s next!
EZ Glide® is a registered trademark and PowerTraxxTM is a trademark of Ferno-Washington, Inc.