Backpacks should not be packed according to equipment relevance on a call but rather according to weight distribution.
Ideally, each medic would have their own pack pre-fit to their size and requirements. Since that is impossible, here are a few tips to assist you pack and fit your Angus backpack. Once the pack is loaded with your gear, do not re-organize it. Moving the gear can result in potential injury for other medics who anticipate the weight distribution as per management specification.
What is the recommended maximum weight for your backpack?
This is the hardest of all questions to answer. Since your backpack will be worn by every medic in your service you must anticipate a variety of problems. The maximum weight a medic in good physical condition can comfortably wear is 30% of their own body weight. For the average medic, we recommend 25% of their own body weight. You also have medics ranging in height and weight from 5’2” 110 lbs to 6’8” 280 lbs. That means the weight of the backpack on the low end could weight between 27.5 – 33 lbs and on the upper end 70 – 84 lbs.
Your 110 lbs medic could be asked to carry a backpack that is almost 70% of their body weight. A 50 – 60 lbs backpack could increase the potential for injury in your smaller medics and decrease injuries in the larger medics.
A properly filled backpack should not feel like you are shouldering your partner. A proper system should transfer the weight comfortably to your hips. To use your backpack correctly, use both shoulder straps and if available the hipbelt. Slinging a full backpack over one shoulder can cause severe back injury and cause premature wear of your bag.
Since EMS calls can happen in various terrains: apartment buildings, industrial settings and even wilderness, the gear should be organized for off-trail or uneven terrain use.
The heaviest gear should be mounted closest to your back in the mid portion of the pack. All gear should be secured to prevent movement.
The medium weight gear should be secured in the bottom of the pack in line with the hipbelt.
The lightest gear should be secured furthest away and to the top of the bag over the middle heavy section.
This will optimize the life of the product and minimize fatigue.
Important: THESE ARE RECOMMENDATIONS ONLY AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DIRECTOR AND MANAGEMENT FOR CORRECT ERGONOMIC PACKING AND WEARING.
Sands Canada strives to provide the premium / brand name products that your service requires, but we also understand that budgets are made so alternatives for products must be available. We constantly look for alternatives for those products that have Health Canada licensing, in order to help your service save money.