Blizzard Survival Bags™ a Great British Success
All Search and Rescue helicopter flights in the UK have replaced conventional sleeping bags with Blizzard Survival Bags™, to save weight and space – and provide better casualty care.
Blizzard Survival Bags™ are a light weight solution to providing casualty care and emergency shelter - should it all go wrong in the mountains. Tested by Guides, and carried by many, the bags will now become a standard feature on all Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter flights in the UK, Cyprus and the Falklands.
Designed and made in Bethesda, Snowdonia, the Blizzard Survival range is made from Blizzard’s unique ultralight thermal material called Reflexcell™ – a triple layer of metalised polymer foil, which expands to form insulating air pockets as well as reflecting heat. Royal Marine trials in the Arctic found the Blizzard Survival Bag to be up to four times more effective at keeping people warm than conventional bivvy bags.The bags are made in North Wales from a new , winner of the Queen’s Award for Innovation 2009 - the UK’s top industrial award - for manufacturer Blizzard Protection Systems.
The bags are being deployed by around 30 aircraft, including six RAF UK flights, two Navy flights, and four Coastguard aircraft. Aircraft previously carried two A Packs, each of which included four sleeping bags and weighed a total of around 64kg (140lbs), with a volume of 200 litres. The standard sleeping bags have been replaced by four Blizzard Survival Bags™, which weigh a total of around 2kg (4.5lbs) and have a packed size of around 4 litres.RAF SAR teams alone are called out nearly 3000 times each year, and the saving in weight and bulk has significantly increased the capability of each aircraft to carry more fuel and equipment. It also means aircraft can carry bags all year, rather than just in winter.
Blizzard marketing director Jill Taylor said: “Blizzard Survival Bags™ are a big improvement on previous kit in terms of thermal/weather performance, ease of deployment and portability. Winchmen can carry them easily when they go into casualty situations - and if they both get stranded, the winchman and casualty can fit in one bag.”
Many Guides have been using the bags - both as a lightweight emergency shelter - or an expedition alternative to bivouac kit for some time with much satisfaction. Steve Long used a Blizzard Bag on his expedition to Great Trango in Pakistan.