Ambulance Stretcher Comprehensive Buying Guide

Ambulance stretchers are the pivotal tool in emergency response and are necessary to transport patients and carry the life-saving equipment that responders need. While no stretcher brand is better than another, there are several important features to take into account when it comes to choosing the best one for your team. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the most prominent features available from top-tier ambulance stretchers and giving you recommendations that fit those best.

Weight: Lightweight Frame or Sturdy?

The weight of a frame can be a huge factor. Lightweight frames make it much quicker to offload the stretcher, while sturdier frames can support more weight. While both of the cots below have impressive weight capacities, there’s other features from each that you may find beneficial.

Lightweight Option: Ferno 35-A Mobile Transporter X-Frame Ambulance Cot

  • Weight: 74 lb (34 kg).
  • Sports an impressive 500 lb load capacity.
  • Built-in shock frame.
  • Low foot-end lifting for better leverage.

Sturdy Option: Stryker MX-PRO R3 Ambulance Cot

  • Weight: 81 lb (38 kg).
  • Available in 600 lb (272 kg) and 650 lb (295 kg) load capacities.
  • Larger patient surface and oversized wheels for support.
  • BackSmart design integrates hydraulics for lifting backrest and reducing strain.

Frame Design: X-Frame vs H-Frame?

When it comes to each of these frame designs, there’s not much difference between them. One slight advantage that the X-frame may have is a frame that’s more stable in roll, while the H-frame’s advantage may lie in the underframe storage options. 

H-Frame Option: Stryker EZ-PRO Ambulance Cot

  • Five adjustable positions to choose from.
  • 650 lb (294 kg) weight capacity.
  • Includes two lap belts and one four-point shoulder restraint.

X-Frame Option: Ferno 35-X PROFlexX X-Frame Ambulance Cot

  • Gas-assist backrest for adjustments.
  • Compatible with LBS boards for bariatric support.
  • X-frame boasts “superior stability” with a C-channel running along the cot.
  • Wider surface to support elbow room, intubation, and CPR.

Loading and Unloading: Manual or Power Assist?

Whether you’re looking for a fully-loaded powered cot, or a simpler reliable frame that you can build on, we’ve got the stretchers for you. Manual stretchers are the tried-and-true models that can be counted on for stability, durability, and affordability. The new power-assisted stretchers typically feature technology that reduces the load strain from responders or allows them to load and unload quickly.

Manual: Ferno 30-NM MRI Conditional Ambulance Cot

  • No frills, reliable and durable cot.
  • MRI-safe - MR Conditional at 3-Tesla or less.
  • Super lightweight at 54 lb.
  • Stable x-frame undercarriage and adjustable backrest.

Power Assist: Stryker Power-PRO XT Ambulance Cot

  • Battery-powered hydraulic system that raises and lowers the cot.
  • Weight capacity of 700 lb (318 kg).
  • Helps reduce spinal load on responders during lift and load.
  • Compatible with the Power-LOAD fastener system, which automatically guides and locks stretcher in place inside the ambulance.

Other Specialized Stretchers

It’s not just your standard stretchers that we have in our store. Some patients or emergency situations require more specialized equipment. Take a look at what other features you’ll want to consider.

Chair Cot

Chair cots are especially unique in that they can fold all the way down into a chair position for patients. This allows them to sit comfortably, as well as be maneuvered around staircases and narrow areas. For Ferno brand, there’s the Ferno 28 Fernoflex Roll-In Chair Cot, which has the added ability of folding flat once the patient has been removed from a narrow space. It also boasts a 650 lb (294 kg) weight capacity.

Bariatric Stretcher

For patients who have a larger physique, a bariatric stretcher is the most ideal one to use. These specialty stretchers are constructed with stronger support, lower profile, and large handles to maneuver. With the Stryker 6083 MX-PRO Bariatric Transport Cot, users also have access to unique features such as:

  • A load capacity up to 1600 lb (725 kg).
  • Seven height positions and safety bars.
  • Shock positioning.
  • One-hand release bars and rails.

Incubator Stretcher

Babies are the most delicate patients in an emergency situation, and so require the best handling and transport. MFI Medical carries the Stryker 6081 MX-PRO Incubator Transporter, a specialized stretcher that can safely secure an incubator. It has 8 positions to choose from, which makes it easy to travel over rough terrain or load into an ambulance.

Accessories Every Ambulance Stretcher Needs

Regardless of which kind of stretcher you utilize for emergencies, there are extra items available through MFI Medical that can better outfit the unit. These accessories can secure vital life-saving equipment, provide extra straps for patients, or provide more surface area for patients. 

Oxygen Bottle Holders

Oxygen bottles are critical for providing patients with much-needed oxygen, but they’re often large and clunky to handle. By attaching a bottle holder to the stretcher, it keeps the cylinder secured at an easy-to-reach distance without compromising airflow or other vital equipment while in use. Bottle holders are available from Ferno and Stryker, each with different models available that can be placed on the back or the head of the ambulance stretcher.

Lifting Handles

Sometimes it can be difficult for responders to quickly load and unload the stretcher with what handholds they can find alone. In those situations, it’s best to install extra lifting handles, at either the foot or head of the stretcher. These extra handles allow for a stronger grip on the stretcher, or allows extra responders to help handle the stretcher.

Straps and Restraints

Strapping the patient to the stretcher ensures that they reach the hospital safely, but sometimes it takes more than a simple chest or leg strap to keep them secure. Various shoulder, waist, and child-size restraints are available to ensure that the emergency response team is always prepared, no matter who the patient is. Additionally, there are wrist and ankle restraints available for extra protection.

Replacement Mattresses

Ambulance stretcher mattresses are built for extreme durability, but as with all things the material can eventually wear over time. If a mattress becomes damaged or worn, MFI Medical carries an assortment of replacement mattresses that are just as durable and long-lasting.

Pockets and Storage Pouches

It’s important to maximize all the space on your ambulance stretcher, so we recommend utilizing storage pouches and attachable trays. The Stryker Pocketed Head End Storage Pouch is conveniently placed under the head end of a Stryker stretcher, utilizing the space for small accessories or extra supplies that a responder might need within reach. Ferno also offers SofNet Drop Frame Storage trays, which are mesh surfaces that can stretched across the frame and can carry bottles or other heavy supplies.

Pediatric and Baby Boards

When pediatric or infant patient needs to be secured to a stretcher, they’re often too small for the size of the stretcher, making it risky to secure them to the stretcher. As such, Ferno offers specialized restraint systems and boards that are designed to hold these smaller patients. This allows responders to keep them strapped in, or keep their head stationary during transport. 

Specials on Ambulance Stretchers

If you’re in the market for an ambulance stretcher or any accessories, don’t forget to take a look at our Specials page. We offer frequent deals and discounts on all sorts of products and brands you trust, and these deals change throughout the year. So be sure to check back frequently!

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Are you still unsure what ambulance stretcher your team needs, or what accessories are appropriate for a stretcher you already have? Don’t hesitate to contact us, whether through the chat box (bottom corner of your screen) or by giving us a call! Our team members are happy to help.