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Case Study

How Pittsburgh Firefighters Got a Better Handle on Patient Lifting

Binder Lift lets rescuers move more weight with fewer people.

Pittsburgh lt. chad hirosky

The Situation

When Pittsburgh firefighter Chad Hirosky got the call for a lift assist, he recognized the address as a common destination for his engine company. “That patient is a 300-pound man who’s bedridden,” said the 46-year-old lieutenant. “Sometimes he slides out of bed and falls to the floor. When we get there, he just wants to be helped back up. It used to take four of us to do that with a modified belt we’d make out of something in the house.”

The frequency of calls for lift assistance has been steadily increasing for the department. It is not uncommon for the same patient to call multiple times in a month. Previously, the responding firefighters did not have the necessary equipment to assist with these types of calls. Consequently, more and more firefighters began experiencing aches and pains. In fact, a couple of them even had to go on disability. "This situation has made us realize that we are no longer in our 30's," he said.


“We use it [Binder Lift] in some pretty tight situations, even when someone’s twisted up in the shower. Instead of blowing out our backs with traditional lifting, we get that extra leverage.”

Lt. Chad Hirosky, Firefighter Paramedic, RN

The Binder Lift Difference

Last year, Hirosky started looking for better equipment. “I sort of stumbled on Binder Lift,” the veteran firefighter recalled. “There’s not a lot out there for ambulation assists – picking people up and helping them stand on their own legs.”

Hirosky got approval to evaluate Binder Lift on the streets. “Nothing really compared,” he said. “Binder was the only device with so many lifting points to support the torso, plus leg straps. For me, those were the deciding factors.”

Lifting and moving a patient is a complex task that necessitates maintaining correct posture and utilizing appropriate body mechanics, which cannot be achieved without the aid of specialized tools that attach handles to the patient. Now there’s a Binder Lift on every Metropolitan Pittsburgh fire truck so Hirosky and his team can safely and proficiently move patients without running the risk of serious injuries. 

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