Three separate but related products will be reviewed this month. I like products that are affordable and useable by the typical, smaller department. All three of these fit that description. These three items are E-Z UP Instant Shelters, the Bumperchute and the Command Board. E-Z UP Shelters
If you have ever attended a county fair, community picnic or car show, you have seen an E-Z UP Instant Shelter. E-Z UP is listed as the “Best selling instant shelter in the world.” If you have erected one, you know where the name came from. At the last IACP Conference, E-Z UP provided a vendor’s booth and was marketing its products to the public safety field. They are quite simply good, easy-to-use, long-lasting products.
E-Z UP has a variety of products that can be bought directly from E-Z UP or from a variety of dealers, including large warehouse stores, and they cost less than $200. These can serve many purposes, including promotional booths at recruitment drives, first-aid tents for community events, and attention-getting public relations displays (both indoors and outdoors), school programs such as D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T., training areas and command posts.
Because of the lightweight, easy transport and easy setup, they have many more uses in law enforcement and all of public safety. How about to cover and protect an outside crime scene from rain or other weather? They can be used for the same reason to cover an extraction effort at an automobile accident, permitting the paramedics and rescue personnel to work without the added hindrance of rain or snow, etc. Do you need to conceal a graphic scene from the eye of the passing by public? An E-Z UP with easily attachable sides will do the trick. In an emergency, an E-Z UP on its side will restrict view also.
E-Z UPs come in several models with the most common being the Eclipse and the Hut lines. Sizes include 8 feet by 8 feet, 10 feet by 10 feet, 10 feet by 15 feet, and 10 feet by 20 feet. The most commonly seen size is 10 feet by 10 feet. This size gives good coverage and is still lightweight and easy to transport. The most common color seen is white because that is one most normally sold at the larger discount stores, but there are more than 22 fabric colors available, and personalized text or logos can be added.
Optional items include sidewalls, rail skirts, anchor kits, and screen mesh sidewalls. Another popular model is the Speed Shelter, which is designed as a portable vehicle shelter. These 8-by-12 units have a higher valance that provide increased headroom.
The Bumperchute is a uniquely designed tailgate canopy that is used to protect personnel such as incident commanders. The Bumperchute is available in recreational models and popular for campers, picnics, tailgating and just about any sporting event. The unit attaches to the vehicle roof by use of the roof rack, or if there is no roof rack, it is attached to a roof mount anchor kit. One person can easily and quickly set it up. It weights about 3 pounds, and it is made of ripstop nylon. It can easily be stored in the vehicle, ready to be put to use.
The Bumperchute fits most SUV-type vehicles with twin, rear cargo barn-style doors or one-piece rear lift gate doors. A vehicle chart is online that provides application information. There are several models and colors with some available for less than $200. The Bumperchute can be used as a command post, crime scene investigation, HazMat, first aid, etc.
Regardless of why it is used, the Bumperchute greatly increases the visibility of the unit. An accessory called the Brow Cover can quickly be added to the command post to hide the preprinted “Command Post” designation. This allows the vehicle identity to be customized by the user by sliding in a different title such as HazMat, safety, first aid, etc.
Another accessory, the ZipR Shield, encloses the front opening of the Bumperchute and provides privacy and additional weather protection. Command post accessories include a Command Post kit. It has a pole, light and flag, which all stow away in a green stuff bag. The 10-foot sectional aluminum shock corded pole quickly snaps in place to post the green CP flag and light and attaches by magnets, to any metal surface. The large green flag has white “CP” letters, and the two Lightman LED lights are visible up to 2 miles away.
The Command Post
The Command Post by Command Concepts is a portable NIMS complaint ISC management tool. The Command Post is everything you need to effectively manage an incident from the back of your squad car/command post. The unit is made of durable nylon and sets up in less than a minute. It can easily be hung or mounted but fits quite nicely on the hood of a car. It also breaks down in less than a minute, allowing quick moving of the command post. It is a very well-constructed and well-thought-out product.
There are three models of the Command Post: Standard, Deluxe and Compact. The Standard model is the most common and is designed for multipurpose incident response and used by law enforcement, schools and basic emergency management. The Deluxe model permits the use of large maps and is designed for military, fire and search and rescue. The Compact model is for specialized units such as HazMat teams, public information officers, hostage negotiations, etc.
The Standard costs less than $200, affordable even on a small department budget. All models come with waterproof plastic pockets, an all-weather rugged case, dry erase boards, markers, padded incident forms, preprinted command forms, and a master CD file containing Command Board operations information, as well as ready-to-print forms.
There are six incident command packages available that provide a basic format to be used in a critical incident. A department can order the command board with one package and later add addition packages if it wishes. These packages are Law Enforcement, Fire, Military, School, Emergency Management/Private Industry and CERT.
Continuing with the school safety items, Command Concepts has developed “Grab and Go” emergency packs. These convenient, lightweight packs are perfect for school administration and staff. They contain emergency supplies such as a light stick, doorstops, flashlight, and dust masks, as well as instruction cards and an incident-specific flipchart to remind staff of the procedures during responses such as lockdowns and evacuations.
Any one of these three products can greatly enhance your agency’s ability to respond to a critical incident, and all three could be purchased for less than $1,000.
Kevin Gordon spent 25 years in law enforcement and retired as a chief of police. He is a national and regional officer of the International Police Association. He can be reached at Kevin@KGordon.com.