Kyle A. - Wilderness Instructor and Physician Assistant
Kyle A., Wilderness Instructor and Physician Assistant, explains why Blizzard Survival Products are essential for search and rescue missions.
"I think they have some great advantages over the traditional space blanket. They're much more durable. They're much, much warmer."
3-Layer Blizzard Survival Bag
Ruth - Mountain Leader
Unable to navigate their way back to their tent, Ruth and her hiking partner pitched an overnight emergency bivy using the Blizzard Bag, likely saving Ruth's life.
Last year (February 2011), I went for a planned 2-day expedition into the Scottish Mountains. A friend and I are both qualified mountain leaders and capable of night navigation, so we decided to get some practice in by walking into the remote hills surrounding Seanna Braigh (a Munro) in the far Northwest of Scotland—many, many miles from any civilization. We pitched our tents about 8 kilometers from the summit as it got dark, and set off. The weather was driving snow, high winds, and poor visibility. However, we have been trained for these conditions and successfully navigated the 8 km to the top and almost all the way back to the tents.
Unfortunately, we had made a serious error of judgment which, without our equipment, could well have cost us our lives. We had pitched our tent in the failing daylight next to a series of about 8 small lochans (mini lakes) and had not taken into account the grid reference at which it had been pitched. Neither had we attached a glow stick to see the tent in the dark. As we approached the first lochan, expecting to see our tent, we realized that we were quite unsure as to exactly where it should be. For the next 3 hours, exhausted from a long day hiking in deep snow and on difficult terrain, cold and damp from sweat, hungry and in dreadful weather, we searched for the tent. At one point we realized that we had gone around in circles.
Although we had duvet jackets, full waterproofs, good equipment, etc., we were tired and worst of all, I knew that I was getting very cold. I was struggling to do even simple tasks, I was very slow, and all I wanted to do was curl up for a sleep. Thankfully, whilst I was blissfully unaware that I was suffering from mountain hypothermia, my partner was on the ball. He knew that I could not go on any longer and decided to do an emergency overnight bivy using the Blizzard Survival Bag.
It is a fantastic piece of kit. I would be lying if I said that it was the most comfortable night that I have spent 2000 feet up on a Scottish mountain in winter. However, I am alive to tell the tale. I am quite convinced that without it, or with an inferior piece of equipment (e.g. a foil blanket or plastic survival bag), I would have been verging on passing into a deep sleep. It undoubtedly saved my life. Mountain Rescue would have taken many, many hours to recover me from there, even after my partner had hiked the 18 km off the mountain to the nearest habitation. There was no mobile signal.
So, at first light, my partner looked up, saw the tent (about 500m away) and got me into a 5-season down sleeping bag and fed me hot drinks. A few hours later, we walked off the mountain to the warmth of my car.
3-Layer Blizzard Survival Bag
Kevin C. - Off-Road Runner
After plans for a support crew fell through, Kevin needed to find a sleeping solution that was both lightweight and warm enough provide life-saving insulation for his 1,254-mile off-road run. Enter the Blizzard Survival Bag.
In 2009, I made the first-ever attempt to run the length of the UK off-road. I succeeded. 1,254 miles across trails, mountains, moorland, and highlands, averaging 30 miles a day for six weeks. The run took forty-five days and seventeen hours, including three rest days. Two weeks before the start of the event, plans for a support crew fell through. I had to run solo and unsupported. I had to carry my entire kit, running “mountain-marathon” style.
One of the biggest weight savings I made was in my sleeping system. I considered using foil blankets inside a bivy bag, thinking that would be enough to keep me alive at night, yet light enough to carry through the day. I soon realized there was no way that system would work. As soon as I moved, the foil sheets would move away from the body, losing all insulation properties instantly. I spoke to a mountain leader friend of mine who always carried a vacuum-packed Blizzard Bag made of foil—asking if it was just a glorified foil blanket. Apparently not. He informed me that they were actually sleeping bags made out of several layers of foil, and importantly, that they were designed to be durable. After researching Blizzard Survival Products, I decided to go with just a foil bag—one piece of kit instead of two—that did the job of a bivy bag (it’s fully waterproof) and a sleeping bag (it’s insulated). With its three layers of foil, I could see how it would work like a down jacket by trapping pockets of air.
I figured the bag would last one week, maybe two at most, and planned to ask family or friends to post replacements ahead of me along the route. To my surprise, the bag lasted over a thousand miles before it started to show signs of abuse. I used it nearly every night for six weeks—packed it away wet, sat on it like a cushion during food stops (this thing was abused)—and it lasted. In my opinion, anyone looking for the lightest possible sleeping system on the market today, which is actually still practical to use, should look no further than a Blizzard Survival Bag.
Rob - Hampshire Fire & Rescue, Trauma Team Medic and Extrication Team Member
Rob, Trauma Team Medic and Extrication Team Member for Hampshire Fire & Rescue, describes his experiences using Blizzard Blankets to keep patients warm in the field, as well as in rescue challenges throughout Europe.
PerSys Medical has been supporting Hampshire Fire & Rescue Extrication and Trauma Teams by supplying the teams with Blizzard Blankets. The blankets are currently used by HFRS and are issued on all appliances and CO-responder cars in our IEC medical bags.
The teams are going to be using the Blizzard Blankets in competitions throughout the country and at the World Rescue Challenge in France. The teams will also use the blankets at the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) Challenge in Derbyshire. The UKRO Challenge involves every fire and rescue from the UK and will be a great opportunity for other organizations to see the Blizzard Blankets in use.
The Blizzard Blankets are a great design and assist us in part of our medical treatment. Keeping a casualty warm is very important and has lots of medical benefits. The crews use a Blizzard Blanket at the earliest opportunity. This could be putting a blanket on a casualty whilst still inside a vehicle that has been involved in a road traffic collision or on a casualty who has been rescued from a house fire.
We as a team really like the design of the blankets and they have shown us that they are the best blanket on the market for assisting in keeping a patient warm. The Blizzard Blanket is simple to use and when vacuum packed, is very small, which is great when it comes to storage.