Bespoke bags for air medics

Picture caption: (From L to R) Openhouse Design Technician Philip Sim, Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedic Tony Wilks and Openhouse Design and Commercial Manager Rob Smith with the revolutionary kitbag now being used by YAA crews.
Picture caption: (From L to R) Openhouse Design Technician Philip Sim, Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedic Tony Wilks and Openhouse Design and Commercial Manager Rob Smith with the revolutionary kitbag now being used by YAA crews.
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Treating patients in emergencies has become a little easier for air ambulance workers in South Yorkshire - after they were given the opportunity of designing their own new medical kit bags.

Paramedics and doctors at Yorkshire Air Ambulance helped create a special backpack featuring a series of individual pouches, after staff found there was room for improvement with their old bags.

The new bags took almost 18 months to design and pilot, and help address a number of issues raised by medics, including the need for them to be wipeable, tear and rip-resistant, as well as providing easy access to equipment that can be kept in sterile packaging until needed.

Tony Wilkes, air ambulance paramedic and clinical supervisor, said workers went ‘right back to basics’ when creating the rucksack.

“We worked through exactly what we need a kit bag to do,” he said.

“The current bag was too small and you’d open it up, particularly in flight, and stuff would just pour out so finding what you needed was a nightmare.

“We have designed a drawer system in a self-standing bag so that when you take kit out the bag doesn’t collapse – which is great.

He added: “Everything is organised in three big pouches and two smaller ones which means we can quickly get what we need.

“The bag can be used as a rucksack and is really comfortable to carry if we have to cover distance and there is also a strap which means it can be lowered to the ground if the helicopter can’t land.”

The bags were made by a company based on the Wirral, Merseyside.

Funding to buy four was provided through a donation of nearly £2,500 by the Wharfedale Special Equipment Fund.

The charity’s two helicopters now carry the backpack as well as the service’s emergency response vehicles based in West and North Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is an independent charity, and needs to raise £9,900 each day to keep its two helicopters in the air and maintained.