by Michael Salvatore, Westport (CT) EMS
In 2010, when I was starting our EMS Bicycle Response Unit, I did some hard research on which panniers and top bags would work best for our department. We decided on the Jandd Mountaineering EMS panniers and EMS top bag. Our decision was based on the quality and design of the product. Jandd really worked hard to make an affordable, yet high-quality, product that exceeds the demands of EMS.
Jannd, best known for their Expedition touring pannier bags, were approached by a local fire department to modify the bags to work for them. They introduced their EMS and Police line of bags several years ago, but with such a small market for EMS and Police bags, they are pretty much unknown to many departments.
Our bike unit operates at both the ALS and BLS level. We carry an average of 28-32 pounds of equipment per bike set. We use the Jandd pannier and top bag, and the quality is not matched by any other manufacturer out there that we have found. When we got our first set of bags from Jandd, we were very pleased with the high quality and design, but contacted Terry from Jandd about redesigning the bags and to request some additional features. He was very happy with our input and, with our help, redesigned the AED pocket to accommodate various-sized AEDs, added loops inside the bag to attach chem-lights so we can see into the bags for night operations, and reinforced the O2 cylinder area with heavy-duty leather to prevent the top of the O2 bottle from wearing on the nylon. These additional features are now stock on all of the EMS panniers.
The EMS panniers are constructed of heavy duty Cordura® and are available in three color options: royal blue, red, and black. The exterior is emblazoned with two Star of Life logos on each pannier, one at the rear and the other on the side. Just below the logos is reflective material sewn with openings allowing the attachment of items such as LED tail-lights. The panniers also have removable patches made of 3M® reflective material embroidered with “EMS” in black lettering. There are heavy duty, triple-stitched leather handles and shoulder strap attachment points on the top of each bag. Inside, you will find heavy duty, marine-grade clear vinyl pouches to hold bandaging supplies, intravenous equipment, medications, and other typical EMS supplies. Large interior pockets hold an AED and small oxygen cylinder. Retail cost is $289.95 for a set (left & right).
The EMS top bag or “Rear Rack Pack” is made from the same material as the panniers and is also available in the same three color choices. The large center pouch has room for a SMART Tag MCI Kit, BP cuff, tire pump, and several other small items; or you can fit a small O2 cylinder inside, utilizing a pass-through hole where the regulator will sit in the “Tools Area”. It is also very well-designed, with “bungee ladders” on the top flip-open lid to hold breakable medication vials, EPI pens or IV starting kits. The roomy “Tools Area” can hold two spare tubes, tool pouch, and repair kit; or the top of a small O2 bottle and O2 regulator.
Two side pouches hold gloves; two water bottle holders are forward-facing and positioned under the seat. An additional storage pocket is located on the top lid to hold personal items (gloves, hat, sun block, etc.). This bag also comes with reflective material for visibility. Retail cost: $88.95.
The Jandd Expedition rack is the best choice for mounting these panniers and rack bag. We were using the standard equipment racks that came with our bikes but noticed they were bending and were unable to properly support the weight that we carry (28-32 lbs). Most racks are aluminum hollow tube construction, and over time will bend from the weight. Jandd’s Expedition rack, made using solid tube construction with double welds and solid steel components, can support up to 75 lbs of weight. Since we switched to the Expedition racks, we have had no reported issues from our team members. Retail cost: $91.95.
Despite the heavy use these bags have gotten over the past five years, we expect they will outlast many of our bike unit members and bikes. The quality and durability is outstanding. I feel they meet a great price point for departments needing panniers and rack bags. “Mayor Mike” gives them a “Two Thumbs Up”!!
We have had Jandd place a link on their website to my department’s pictures of everything we carry in the bags. Go to http://www.jandd.com/police.asp and click on the “EMS Rear Pannier Set” then “More photos by Westport EMS”.
Should you want more information, please feel free to contact me.
Photos courtesy Michael Salvatore.
Michael R. Salvatore, NREMT-P, has been involved with Emergency Services since 1990, as 911 operator, firefighter, and paramedic. He currently works for Westport Police Department, Division of EMS, as a Paramedic Supervisor, EMS Instructor, EMS Bike Unit Director. He also instructs for the Connecticut Police Academy. He works for Lime Rock Park Race Track as a firefighter/medic providing on-track rescue for auto racing events such as NASCAR, ALMS Race Series, and Grand-Am. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.