By Robert Dunivin, EMSCI #205
Los Angeles (CA) Fire Department
Over the last several months, I had the pleasure of evaluating several StatPacks EMS bags. With input from StatPack’s Andrew Tepper, I selected four different items, which allowed me to experience a cross-section of their products. These packs are tuff! Andrew challenged me to try and break them, and though I have tried and tried, I just can’t do it. They have been used by several of my teammates on many different bike deployments and on foot teams at raves. I even took them mountain biking and one became a landing cushion during a crash. Not a scuff.
These packs are well-built. They have high quality zippers with large pull tabs, which are easy to manipulate while wearing EMS or bike gloves. They are constructed of durable, bright red Cordura, with highly reflective material accents for increased visibility. If you like the stealthy or tactical look, many of the packs are available in tactical black, with no reflectors; great for a tactical medic. Additional foam padding in all the right areas improves comfort and ergonomic performance. Contoured shoulder straps allow full range of motion without the fear of the straps falling off. Many of the pockets are outfitted with mesh or see-through inner pockets to help you organize and locate all the small stuff.
One of the key features of the StatPack systems is the cells or modules. These modules come in many different sizes and have many different purposes. Instead of rummaging through the pack for the IV bag, looking in another pocket for the tubing, and then searching for the perfect size catheter, you just reach into the pack and pull out the IV module. It’s all there in plain view and easy to grab. There are also modules/cells for O2, airway/intubations, and medicine. This is, in my opinion, one of StatPack’s best features.
The first pack I tried was the GI GOLDEN HOUR. This is the biggest backpack with which I felt comfortable riding. It carries all the basics and can be set up with either four or five compartments. The main compartment has a removable divider; with the divider in, you have two compartments which can accommodate the modules. With the divider removed, you can stow large items like O2 bottles, Ambu bags, etc. The main compartment has two large, u-shaped openings for ease of access. The side compartments are excellent for all BLS supplies. The outer mesh compartment on top of the pack was ideal for quick access to EMS gloves. The pack was both very comfortable to wear, and big enough to carry what you need. I have a tendency to fill a bag until it is full, whether I need it or not. This bag kept me under control. Even during mountain bike rides, it didn’t have much of an effect on my balance or back.
The second pack was the G1 LOAD N’ GO. This was a big pack; perfect for a self-contained paramedic. I loaded this bag up with everything. It carried both BLS supplies and the meds needed by paramedics. I put in a full complement of ET tubes and King Airways and all the blades for a complete airway kit. The only things it didn’t hold were a backboard and an O2 bottle. (Check out the G1 BREATHER, a similar bag set up completely for airway management, including the “D” size O2 bottle.)
As much as I loved the LOAD N’ GO, it wasn’t my preference for a bike medic. It was just a little too big to have on my back all day. I would, however, recommend it for a jump medic, tactical medic (it also comes in black) or any type of off-highway responses where you can’t bring the rig right to the incident.
The third pack was the QUICKLOOK AED. This is about as perfect pack you can wear as a bike medic. It is compact and lightweight, and would be great for a BLS team. The pack features two outer compartments accessible from both the front and back. The main compartment contains three removable, stick-in-place pouches. These are clear to the front for easy location of equipment. The exterior of the pack has an AED pouch which easily accommodates several brands, and a clear urethane window for easy view of the AED’s status. This pack can be loaded up with a large complement of BLS equipment or the ALS basics. It would be the perfect choice for the bike medic team that uses both packs and panniers.
Finally, I tried something based on Andrew’s recommendation – the G2 MCI VEST/PACK. I never would have considered it, but it turned out to be the absolutely best solution to several issues faced by bike medics. First, if I have to leave my bike at to assess a patient, what do I take with me – everything or nothing? Second, do we or don’t we have to wear those DOT-required vests? The G2 MCI VEST/PACK is the answer to both questions. It has two large pockets on the front with organizers for stowage of basic assessment needs. It also has webbing attachment points for cell phones or radios. The vest/pack has removable ID panels on the front and back. The stock labels are EMS, Fire or Police; however, you can have custom ones made. The vest is ANSI yellow with high visibility reflectors that make you very visible day and night. The new vest will have the ANSI five-point breakaway Velcro closures.
If you like the idea of having some basics with you when you’re away from your bike, but you don’t want to or need to wear a vest, StatPacks offers a line of waistpacks as well. I definitely want to get my hands on a couple of those.
Andrew asked to let him know if I encountered any problems or if I could suggest any improvements. No problems at all; these packs are bomb proof! I did suggest adding a waist strap option to help with weight distribution and keeping the pack centered on the back while riding. We also discussed a Hydro cell option.
As for what’s coming up, Andrew wouldn’t spill the beans, but he did tell me that there are more vest styles in the pipeline. I’ll be checking the web site (www.statpacks.com) regularly to see the newest StatPack gear to hit the streets.
StatPacks offers 15% off retail to IPMBA members through the IPMBA Product Purchase Program. Contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-627-2265 to take advantage of this excellent deal!
Robert Dunivin has 20 years experience in the fire service and has been a firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department for the last seven years. Robert is an instructor with the LAFD bike medic team and has been with the team for the last five years. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
© 2011 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Spring 2011 Issue of IPMBA News.