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Did you know that YKK buckles hold applications in patient transport? Our IB-SA buckles play a key role in the Binder Lift, a novel product that assists emergency medical service (EMS) workers in safely lifting fallen patients of any size. Rick Binder is the CEO of Binder Lift Inc and understands that lifting and moving patients are typically the most injury-prone tasks a first responder performs. Rick and his team hope to change this. We sat down with him to learn more.

Please tell us about your background. 

The first decade of my life was spent in a small logging town just outside of Sacramento, California. I was home-schooled through 8th grade by parents that in many ways weren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Being raised with this mentality gave me lots of special opportunities early in life.

Rick is the CEO of Binder Lift Inc, a business focused on helping emergency responders avoid injuries. Lifting and moving patients is typically the most injury-prone job task a first responder performs, but Rick and his team are changing this by equipping providers with products and training resources that are proven to help first responders avoid these injuries.

Rick Binder, the CEO of Binder Lift Inc

What inspired you to begin working in the patient transport industry? 

My mother became an EMT when I was in high school and would share stories of how she helped people through her work. This inspired me to pursue employment in emergency healthcare. Before graduating college, my father persuaded me to join him in bringing the Binder Lift to market.

Rick's parents inspired him to begin working in the patient transport industry.

Rick Binder’s parents

How did your father come up with the idea for the Binder Lift?

After my father learned from my mother that it is often difficult for emergency responders to help lift a fallen patient, he immediately purchased a sewing machine to invent a product that would help change this. After many hours of learning to sew at the family dining table, my father created the first Binder Lift so my mother and her EMS partner could help lift patients.

Why do you choose YKK IB-SA buckles for use in the Binder Lift? What unique advantages do they provide?

The IB-SA buckle is easy to release and unlikely to break, making it perfect for a product that requires high strength components like the Binder Lift. You all also provide these buckles in various colors, which enables EMS workers to locate the buckles and strap the Binder Lift to a patient, especially when in confined spaces.

From your perspective, what potential do you see for YKK buckles or other YKK fastening products in patient transport applications?

The potential is nearly endless! It’s the “little things” that make a huge difference in a product’s usability and function. For instance, a friend of mine’s products use YKK buckles to help responders easily and safely restrain uncooperative patients, a process that used to be significantly more dangerous and difficult. I can’t help but think others will continue to innovate in patient transport with the help of YKK fasteners.

YKK's IB-SA buckle.

YKK’s IB-SA buckle

What areas of the patient transport industry would you like to further develop?

According to a national survey, the first time lifting and moving a patient over 350 lbs for 92% of emergency responders is in the field during a real emergency. No wonder lifting and moving patients is the number one cause of injury to first responders.

Critical emergencies are not the time to learn the fundamentals of moving heavy weight patients. Training is something that is hugely important to my company’s culture, and in the coming months and years, I expect to be launching training services and products to help address this gap in the patient transport industry.


Finally, what advice do you have for those seeking to break into the patient transport industry? 

My advice to everyone getting started in the patient transport industry is to learn from leaders in the field. I have been blessed with many mentors and friendships that have helped me navigate the ever-changing business landscape. I encourage anyone with a new product idea to reach out to me on LinkedIn and look up other small business leaders. Starting a successful small business is learned by asking questions from those who have done it before.


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