IPMBA News

The Guardian Angel: The EMS View

by Sean Regan, EMSCI #267
Lynchburg (VA) Fire Department

The Guardian Angel is a personal safety mini light bar that is intended to be worn on the uniform (epaulet) of a public safety official.  The unit can be used by the official to increase their visibility while in traffic or as a safety beacon when backup is needed.  The unit has three strobe modes, consisting of alternating lights, with the addition of upward white lights in the emergency mode, which provide 360 degrees of light.  The LEDs are rated up to 900 lumens, which can easily be seen for a couple of miles.  There is also a utility light that can be used to illuminate paperwork.  The unit is waterproof and has a rubber seal plug that protects the charging port.

The unit that I tested was the blue and red light configuration with the bike mount adapter, which enables the device to be attached to either the handlebars or the seatpost.  The unit comes with a USB charging cable, AC adapter, shirt clip adapter and a fill-in medical card that can be attached to the bottom of the device.

Evaluation
The adapter plates are easily switched out by removing two Phillips head screws.  The unit was fully charged, as indicated by a steady green light next to the charging port.  I utilized the unit both as a rear light attached to the seatpost with the bike mount adapter and attached to the webbing on a rack bag with the shirt clip adapter.  Both adapters held onto the unit securely during stair descents and on singletrack rides.  I did not utilize the shirt clip on an epaulette, mainly because our uniforms do not have epaulettes, but at 5.2 ounces, it weighs no more than a radio mic. 

Battery life is great; on full emergency mode the battery last more seven hours.  The battery life is even longer in the other two light patterns.  Charging the unit takes in excess of six hours.  The unit is very rugged, having sustained a fall of about six feet and a subsequent tumble of 25 feet down a hillside due to my frozen fingers. 

The buttons are large and easily pushed to turn the unit on and off.  The easy activation of the buttons is the one downside I noticed with the unit.  A quick push of the emergency mode button turns the unit off.  This could easily be resolved by requiring the user to push and hold the button for a few seconds to turn the unit off.  [Manufacturer’s note:  since this unit was provided for testing, this issue has been resolved.  As Sean suggested, a slight delay has been added to prevent inadvertent activation of the Guardian Angel.]

 

Conclusion
The Guardian Angel is a very bright, personal safety light that can easily be seen by motorists and co-workers/back-up.  The light pattern, especially the emergency mode, is unlike any other strobe pattern that I have seen.  The rugged design and battery life make the unit a great companion for the Police, Security or EMS cyclist.

Sean is a Captain with the City of Lynchburg Fire Department and has been a member of the EMS Bike Team for 15 years.  The team provides standby services for 35-40 events annually.  He attended the IPMBA EMS Cyclist Course at the 2011 IPMBA Conference in Richmond and was certified as an IPMBA Instructor at the 2012 IPMBA Conference in Saint Paul.  He can be reached at sean.regan@lynchburgva.gov.

This review appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of IPMBA News. 

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