(KMOV) -- America's obesity problem is causing some serious injuries for the paramedics who have to treat large patients.
The Collinsville fire department is staffed by 33 firefighter paramedics. Last year alone 12 of them found themselves needing medical help after suffering a lifting injury.
On average each one was out of work for a month.
Nationwide departments are buying up equipment like the Mega Mover to make their jobs easier.
It was created to mimic the style of cloth needed to move small whales. In this case it can hold a person who weighs 1,500 lbs.
Some departments now have power stretchers.
The Collinsville fire department does not. News 4 was told they run anywhere between $10-15,000 apiece.
The traditional stretcher can only hold up to 500 lbs.
The crew in Collinsville is confident their department will eventually get the upgraded equipment because if the statistics are right, Americans aren't getting any smaller.
One Collinsville firefighter-paramedic is currently off the job because of a lifting injury.
So far, he's been out of work for three weeks.