Title:
BACKPACK CONTAINING PALLETS THAT SECURELY HOLD TOOLS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A backpack can include a sheet of flexible material having a common surface defining a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. Each panel is of substantially equal size with a first foldable hinge joint located between the first panel and the second panel, and a second foldable hinge joint located between the second panel and a third panel. The sheet of flexible material is foldable to define a transport configuration with each panel stacked with respect to one another, and a service configuration with each panel positioned side by side. A first pallet, a second pallet, and a third pallet; each pallet for receiving tools. A first shoulder strap and a second shoulder strap attached to the sheet of flexible material for carrying the backpack.



Inventors:
Meier, Thomas R. (St. Clair Shores, MI, US)
Application Number:
14/170779
Publication Date:
05/29/2014
Filing Date:
02/03/2014
Assignee:
MEIER THOMAS R.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/153, 206/370
International Classes:
A45F4/08
View Patent Images:
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20060261105JUVENILE SEAT WITH REMOVABLE, WEARABLE INFANT CARRIER SLINGNovember, 2006Balensiefer et al.



Primary Examiner:
WAGGENSPACK, ADAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WSU Patent Procurement Clinic (Wayne State University Law School 471 West Palmer, Detroit, MI, 48202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A backpack (10) for holding equipment wearable on the back of a user comprising: a sheet of flexible material (20) having a common surface (21) defining a first panel (22), a second panel (24), and a third panel (26), each panel (22, 24, 26) of substantially equal size with a first foldable hinge joint (34) located between the first panel (22) and the second panel (24), and a second foldable hinge joint (36) located between the second panel (24) and a third panel (26), the sheet of flexible material (20) foldable about the first foldable hinge joint (34) and the second foldable hinge joint (36) to define a transport configuration with the first panel (22), the second panel (24), and the third panel (26) stacked with respect to one another, and a service configuration with the first panel (22), second panel (24), and third panel (24) positioned side by side with respect to one another; a first pallet (50), a second pallet (52), and a third pallet (54), each pallet (50, 52, 54) for receiving tools, the first pallet (50) releaseably attached to the first panel (22), the second pallet (52) releaseably attached to the second panel (22), and the third pallet (54) releaseably attached to the third panel (24); and a first shoulder strap (40) and a second shoulder strap (42) attached to the sheet of flexible material (20) for carrying the backpack while folded in the transport configuration.

2. The backpack (10) of claim 1 further comprising: at least one pole-receiving sleeve (28, 29) associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material (20).

3. The backpack (10) of claim 2 further comprising: a first stretcher pole (70) and a second stretcher pole (72) received by the at least one pole-receiving sleeve (28, 29) associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material (20) defining a stretcher configuration with the first panel (22), second panel (24), and the third panel (26) positioned side by side with respect to one another.

4. The backpack (10) of claim 1, wherein the sheet of flexible material (20) has an opposite surface (23) from the common surface (21) for supporting an injured person with the backpack (10) in a stretcher configuration.

5. The backpack (10) of claim 1 further comprising: at least one flap (38) extending from at least one of the first panel (22), second panel (24), and third panel (26) for preventing environmental contaminants from entering the backpack (10) while folded in the transport configuration.

6. The backpack (10) of claim 1, wherein the at least one pallet (50, 52, 54) contains a plurality of biohazard pouches (60).

7. The backpack (10) of claim 1 further comprising: at least one of the panels (22, 24, 26) having a supplemental sheet of material (100) attached to the common surface (21) with a first zipper portion (120) extending around a periphery (102) of the panel and a cover member (110) having a second complementary zipper portion (122) extending around the periphery (102), such that the first and second zipper portions (120, 122) are operably engageable with respect to one another for enclosing a pallet (50, 52, 54) therebetween.

8. The backpack (10) of claim 1, wherein the first pallet (50), second pallet (52), and third pallet (54) each are defined by a first surface (202) and a second surface (204) spaced from one another, each pallet having a plurality of peripheral shapes (210) formed in the first surface (202) and connected by side surfaces (220) to peripheral shapes (212) of reduced dimensions form in the second surface (204) creating an increasing narrower periphery for engagement with tools to be held in place.

9. A backpack (10) for holding equipment wearable on the back of a user comprising: a sheet of flexible material (20) having a common surface (21) defining a first panel (22), a second panel (24), and a third panel (26), each panel (22, 24, 26) of substantially equal sized with a first foldable hinge joint (34) located between the first panel (22) and the second panel (24), and a second foldable hinge joint (36) located between the second panel (24) and a third panel (26), the sheet of flexible material (20) foldable about the first foldable hinge joint (34) and the second foldable hinge joint (36) to define a transport configuration with the first panel (22), the second panel (24), and the third panel (26) stacked with respect to one another, a service configuration with the first panel (22), second panel (24), and third panel (24) positioned side by side with respect to one another; a first pallet (50), a second pallet (52), and a third pallet (54) for receiving tools with the first pallet (50) releaseably attached to the first panel (22), the second pallet (52) releaseably attached to the second panel (22), and the third pallet (54) releaseably attached to the third panel (24), wherein one of the first, second and third pallets (50, 52, 54) contains a plurality of biohazard pouches (60); and a first shoulder strap (40) and a second shoulder strap (42) attached to the sheet of flexible material (20) for carrying the backpack while folded in the transport configuration.

10. The backpack (10) of claim 9 further comprising: at least one pole-receiving sleeve (28, 29) associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material (20).

11. The backpack (10) of claim 10 further comprising: a first stretcher pole (70) and a second stretcher pole (72) received by the at least one pole-receiving sleeve (28, 29) associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material (20) defining a stretcher configuration with the first panel (22), second panel (24), and third panel (26) positioned side by side with respect to one another.

12. The backpack (10) of claim 9, wherein the sheet of flexible material (20) has an opposite surface (23) from the common surface (21) for supporting an injured person with the backpack (10) in the stretcher configuration.

13. The backpack (10) of claim 9 further comprising: at least one flap (38) extending from at least one of the first, second, and third panels (22, 24, 26) for preventing environmental contaminants from entering an interior of the backpack (10) while folded in the transport configuration.

14. The backpack (10) of claim 9 further comprising: the first pallet (50), second pallet (52), and third pallet (54) each are defined by a first surface (202) and a second surface (204) spaced from one another, each pallet having a plurality of peripheral shapes (210) formed in the first surface (202) and connected by side surfaces (220) to peripheral shapes (212) formed in the second surface (204) for engagement with tools to be held in place; and a main backer board (206) associated with at least one of the pallets (50, 52, 54), the main backer board (206) of a substantially similar shape to the second surface (204) permanently attached to the second surface (206) to prevent a tool from exiting the foam body through the second surface (204) and for adding rigidity to the foam body.

15. The backpack (10) of claim 9 further comprising: at least one of the panels (22, 24, 26) having a supplemental sheet of material (100) attached to the common surface (21) with a first zipper portion (120) extending around a periphery (102) of the panel and a cover member (110) having a second complementary zipper portion (122) extending around the periphery (102), such that the first and second zipper portions (120, 122) are operably engageable with respect to one another for enclosing a pallet (50, 52, 54) therebetween.

16. The backpack (10) of claim 9 further comprising: a pocket (900) for holding a foldable stretcher (902) attached to the sheet of flexible material (20).

17. A pallet (50, 52, 54) for a backpack (10) for securely holding a plurality of medical instruments and medical supplies, each medical instrument and medical supply having a corresponding peripheral shape comprising: a foam body having a first surface (202) and a second surface (204) spaced from one another with a plurality of peripheral shapes (210) in the first surface (202) and connected by tapered side surfaces (220) to peripheral shapes (212) of reduced dimensions on the second surface (204) creating an increasing narrower periphery for engagement with medical instruments and medical supplies to be held in place.

18. The pallet of claim 17 further comprising: a main backer board (206) of a substantially similar shape to the second surface (204) permanently attached to the second surface (204) to prevent the medical instruments from exiting the foam body through the second surface (202) and for adding rigidity to the foam body.

19. The pallet of claim 18 further comprising: a supplemental board (250) smaller in size and dimension than the main backer board (206) located extending parallel to and between the first surface (202) and the second surface (204) for positioning medical instruments and medical supplies closer to the first surface (202) for easier removal of the medical instruments and medical supplies.

20. The pallet (400) of claim 17 further comprising: at least one hook-and-loop fastener (230) connected to the first surface (202) for retaining the plurality of medical instruments in place.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Pat. Appl. Ser. No. 61/829,774 filed on May 31, 2013, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a package and article carrier that is carried by an animate bearer, and more particularly, a package and article carrier that is convertible to a different device, such as a bed or litter.

BACKGROUND

Storage cases for tools are well known in the art, such as U.S. Pat. No. 3,777,882, which discloses a multi-tray storage case for fragile surgical instruments. Backpacks also are well known in the art, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,573,154, which discloses a backpack for holding emergency medical equipment having foldout flaps with storage pockets placed along the interior side of each flap. Further, collapsible stretchers are well known in the art, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,818,840 discloses a collapsible stretcher with wheels having a single cavity receiving at least one medical monitoring/treatment unit. While each of these have been disclosed and used separately, none have combined all of the utility of all of the features into one unit.

SUMMARY

It would be desirable for a backpack to carry fragile medical supplies in an organized, protected, and cushioned environment. It would be desirable for a backpack to include at least semi-rigid panels capable of being folded and stacked with respect to one another for a compact transport configuration, and unfolded side by side for an expanded service or use configuration. It would be desirable to protect fragile medical supplies from shock damage when carried in a backpack when dropped from a significant height, such as greater than twenty feet. It would be desirable for a backpack to carry equipment safely, while being capable of converting into a stretcher.

A backpack for holding equipment and wearable on the back of a user can include a sheet of flexible material having a common surface. The sheet of flexible material can have a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. Each of the panels can be of substantially equal size with a first foldable hinge joint located between the first panel and the second panel, and a second foldable hinge joint located between the second panel and a third panel. The sheet of flexible material can be foldable about the first foldable hinge joint and the second foldable hinge joint to define a transport configuration with the first panel, the second panel, and the third panel stacked with respect to one another. A service configuration can be defined with the first panel, second panel, and the third panel positioned side by side with respect to one another. The sheet of flexible material can have an opposite surface from the common surface for supporting an injured person after conversion of the backpack into a stretcher configuration. The backpack can include a first pallet, a second pallet, and a third pallet. Each pallet can receive tools instruments, supplies, and/or equipment, by way of example but not limitation, such as hand tools or medical instruments. The first pallet can be releaseably attached to the first panel, the second pallet can be releaseably attached to the second panel, and the third pallet can be releaseably attached to the third panel. It should be recognized that the first, second and third pallets are not specific to any particular panel, and can be located on any panel in any combination or configuration desired. The backpack can include a first shoulder strap and a second shoulder strap attached to the sheet of flexible material for carrying the backpack while folded in the transport configuration.

A backpack for holding equipment and wearable on the back of a user can include a sheet of flexible material having a common surface. The sheet of flexible material can have a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. Each of the panels can be of substantially equal size with a first foldable hinge joint located between the first panel and the second panel, and a second foldable hinge joint located between the second panel and a third panel. The sheet of flexible material can be foldable about the first foldable hinge joint and the second foldable hinge joint to define a transport configuration with the first panel, the second panel, and the third panel stacked with respect to one another. A service configuration can be defined with the first panel, second panel, and the third panel positioned side by side with respect to one another. The sheet of flexible material can have an opposite surface from the common surface for supporting an injured person with the backpack after conversion of the backpack into a stretcher configuration. The backpack can include a first pallet, a second pallet, and a third pallet. Each pallet can receive tools, instruments, supplies, and/or equipment, by way of example but not limitation, such as hand tools or medical instruments. The first pallet can be releaseably attached to the first panel, the second pallet can be releaseably attached to the second panel, and the third pallet can be releaseably attached to the third panel. It should be recognized that the first, second and third pallets are not specific to any particular panel, and can be located on any panel in any combination or configuration desired. At least one of the first, second, and third pallets can contain at least one or a plurality of biohazard pouches. The backpack can include a first shoulder strap and a second shoulder strap attached to the sheet of flexible material for carrying the backpack while folded in the transport configuration.

A pallet for a backpack can be provided for securely holding at least one or a plurality of medical instruments and supplies with each medical instrument or supply product having a corresponding peripheral shape. The pallet can be formed as a foam body having a first surface and a second surface spaced from one another. Each pallet can have a plurality of peripheral shapes in the first surface connected by tapered surfaces to peripheral shapes of reduced dimension on the second surface creating an increasing narrower periphery for engagement with medical instruments or medical supplies to be held in place.

Other applications of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art when the following description of the best mode contemplated for practicing the invention is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The description herein makes reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a backpack in a service configuration with a common surface supporting a plurality of pallets;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the front of the backpack of FIG. 1 after folding into a transport configuration;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the rear and one side of the backpack folded into the transport configuration of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the backpack of FIG. 1 illustrating an opposite surface from the common surface after conversion into a stretcher configuration including stretcher support poles or members;

FIG. 5A is a side view of a pallet to be carried by the backpack of FIGS. 1-4;

FIG. 5B is a plan view of a pallet for supporting medical instruments and supplies;

FIG. 5C is a plan view of a pallet for supporting medical instruments and supplies including at least one or a plurality of biohazard disposal bags; and

FIG. 6 is a detail perspective view of a zippered enclosure for supporting each pallet with respect to the common surface of the backpack of FIGS. 1-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, a perspective view of the backpack 10, illustrates a backpack 10 for holding equipment wearable on the back of a user. The backpack can be made from a sheet of flexible material 20. By way of example, but not limitation, the sheet of flexible material 20 can be made from any suitable material having the desired strength and durability, such as canvas, nylon, polyester, and any combination thereof. The sheet of flexible material 20 can have a common surface 21 defining a first panel 22, a second panel 24, and a third panel 26. The first, second and third panels 22, 24, 26 can be of substantially the same size and dimensions. A first foldable hinge joint 34 can be located between the first panel 22 and the second panel 24. A second foldable hinge joint 36 can be located between the second panel 24 and the third panel 26. Referring now to FIG. 2, a perspective view of a front of the backpack 10 illustrates the backpack 10 folded and stacked into a transport configuration. The transport configuration can be defined by folding the plurality of panels 22, 24, 26 in any one of numerous combinations. By way of example, but not limitation, the first panel 22 can be folded and stacked with respect to the second panel 24. The third panel 26 can then be folded and stacked with respect to the stacked first and second panels 22, 24. The backpack 10 can include at least one flap 38 extending from at least one of the first, second, and third panels 22, 24, 26 for preventing environmental contaminants from entering into an interior of the backpack 10 while folded in the transport configuration. Backpack 10 can be fastened and kept in the transport configuration by at least one closure strap 30a, 30b attached to the sheet of flexible material 20.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a perspective view of a rear and one side of the backpack 10 folded into the transport configuration illustrates a first shoulder strap 40 and a second shoulder strap 42 attached to the second panel 24 for carrying the backpack 10 on the back of a user. The first and second shoulder straps 40, 42 can be attached to the second panel 24 by releasable fasteners, by way of example, but not limited to clips, zippers, adhesive, thread, studs, and any combination thereof. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the first shoulder strap 40 and the second shoulder strap 42 can be attached to any one of the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26 depending on the transport configuration and folding sequence desired.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a perspective view of an opposite surface 23 from the common surface 21 of the backpack 10 is illustrated with the backpack 10 unfolded into a stretcher configuration. A stretcher configuration can be defined with the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26 positioned side by side with respect to one another. An injured person can be strapped to the opposite surface 23 for transportation using a first patient strap 82, second patient strap 84, and a third patient strap 86. A portion of each patient strap can be associated with opposite sides or edges of the sheet of flexible material 20. By way of example, but not limitation, each patient strap can include a buckle for quickly strapping an injured person to the opposite surface 23.

A first rifle loop 90 and a second rifle loop 92 are attached to the sheet of flexible material 20 for securing a rifle to the backpack 10 when configured in the stretcher configuration. Each loop 90, 92 can include an adjustable hook-and-loop type fastener. This allows weapons, such as a rifle, or other equipment to be carried along with the injured patient in a convenient manner.

The sheet of flexible material 20 can include at least one pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material 20. The pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 can be a loop of the sheet of flexible material 20 sewn to itself, or can be additional material attached to an edge or side of the flexible material 20. A first stretcher pole 70 and a second stretcher pole 72 can be received by the at least one pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material 20 to convert the backpack 10 into a stretcher configuration used for carrying an injured person and/or weapons or equipment. The first stretcher pole 70 and second stretcher pole 72 can be made with a collapsible configuration, wherein each pole 70, 72 can be folded or separated into segments which can be carried into and assembled in the field. By way of example, but not limitation, each segment can be in the form of a hollow pole having a circular, oval, triangular, rectangular, or polygonal cross section, with an elastic rubber band or elastic cord extending through an open interior space of each segment to hold the segments in relation to one another for ease of assembly when needed. The segments of the stretcher poles can be connected to each other by aligning and interlocking fastener connections between adjacent segments, where the elastic cords maintain complementary joint portions on separate segments adjacent to one another simplifying assembly. By way of example and not limitation, collapsible stretcher poles can be configured to include threaded segments joined together by threading a threaded male segment with respect to another complementary threaded female segment. By example, but not limitation, each segment can be made at least in part of a lightweight, but rigid material, such as carbon fiber, aluminum, and any combination thereof. It should be recognized that a portion of the stretcher poles can be located within the pole sleeves forming a framework for the backpack 10. Short connecting members can be provided for attaching the separate pieces of the stretcher poles forming the backpack 10 framework with respect to one another along with stretcher pole handle portions connectable to opposite ends of the assembled poles.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a common surface of the backpack 10 is illustrated in a service configuration defined by the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 24 unfolded and positioned side-by-side with respect to one another. A first pallet 50, a second pallet 52, and a third pallet 54 can be attached to the respective first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26. As shown in FIGS. 5A-5C, each pallet 50, 52, 54 can include a first surface 202 and a second surface 204 spaced apart from one another with a plurality of peripheral shapes 210 cut through the first surface 202 and connected by straight or tapered surfaces 220 to peripheral shapes 212 of reduced dimensions on the second surface 204 creating an increasingly narrower periphery for engagement with tools and/or supplies. By way of example but not limitation, the tools, instruments, supplies, and/or equipment can include hand tools, and/or medical instruments and/or supplies (not shown) to be held in place by the pallet during transport in the backpack. By way of example and not limitation, the pallets 22, 24, 26 can be manufactured from an open cell or closed cell foam, or other lightweight materials.

The tools, instruments, supplies, and/or equipment, by way of example and not limitation, such as hand tools and/or medical instruments and/or supplies, can be grouped on individual pallets 50, 52, 54 according to an intended function. If medical instruments are being stored, one organizational acronym is ABC: airway, bleeding, and circulation. By way of example, but not limitation, the first pallet 50 could hold airway tools including tracheal intubators, pulse oximeters, oxygen masks, cervical collars, and blood pressure and stethoscope kits. The second pallet 52 could hold bleeding tools, including abdominal pads, gauze sponges, gauze bandage rolls, battle dressing, gloves, chest seals, splints, blood clotting sprays, scissors, and forceps. The third pallet 54 could circulation tools, including IV bags, IV hoses, and needles.

As shown in FIG. 5A, at least one of the pallets 50, 52, 54 can include a main backer board 206 of a substantially similar shape to the second surface 204 permanently attached to the second surface 204 to prevent tools from exiting the pallet 50, 52, 54 through the second surface 204 and for adding rigidity to the pallet 50, 52, 54. By way of example, but not limitation, the main backer board 206 can be made of a lightweight material, such as paperboard or plastic. One of the pallets 50, 52, 54 can also contain a plurality of biohazard pouches 60. By way of example, but not limitation, the biohazard pouches can be pliable tear resistant plastic bags or rigid sharps containers.

Referring now to FIG. 5A, a pallet 50, 52, 54 can include at least one slot 240 extending inwardly from at least one side surface allowing insertion of an intermediate backer board 250. The intermediate backer board 250 can provide an intermediate surface for supporting tools, instruments, supplies, and/or equipment, by way of example and not limitation, such as hand tools and/or medical instruments and/or supplies in a position closer to the first surface 202 allowing easier grasping and retrieval. The slot 240 can extend partially through the pallet to decrease a depth of at least one aperture defined by straight or tapered surfaces 220. The shallow depth of the aperture can be provided for certain tools, by way of example and not limitation, such as surgical scissors or forceps.

Referring now to FIG. 6, a perspective detail view of the backpack 10 illustrates at least one of the panels 22, 24, 26 having a supplemental sheet of material 100 attached to the common surface 21 with a first zipper portion 120 extending around a periphery 102 of the panel and a cover member 110 having a second complementary zipper portion 122 extending around the periphery 102, such that the first and second zipper portions are operably engageable with one another for enclosing the pallet 50, 52, 54 therebetween. The cover member 110 can include a transparent window 130 for viewing the contents held by the pallet 50, 52, 54.

Referring again to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a common surface of the backpack 10 is illustrated for holding equipment wearable on the back of a user. The backpack can be made from a sheet of flexible material 20. By way of example and not limitation, the sheet of flexible material 20 can be made of a material having suitable strength and durability, such as canvas, nylon, polyester, and any combination thereof. The sheet of flexible material 20 can have a common surface defining a first panel 22, a second panel 24, and a third panel 26. Each of the panels 22, 24, 26 can be of substantially the same size and dimensions. A first foldable hinge joint 34 can be located between the first panel 22 and second panel 24. A second foldable hinge joint 36 can be located between the second panel 24 and third panel 26. As shown in FIG. 2, the backpack 10 can be folded or stacked into a transport configuration by folding the plurality of panels 22, 24, 26 into a stack. The stacking sequence can be any one of numerous possible combinations. By way of example and not limitation, the first panel 22 can be folded to stack adjacent the second panel 24. The third panel 26 can then be folded to stack adjacent the first panel 22 with the first panel 22 interposed between the second panel 24 and third panel 26. The backpack 10 can include at least one flap 38 extending from at least one of the first, second, and third panels 22, 24, 26 for preventing environmental contaminants from entering into an interior of the backpack 10 while folded in the transport configuration. Backpack 10 can be maintained and kept in the transport configuration by at least one closure strap 30 attached to the sheet of flexible material 20.

Referring again to FIG. 3 a first shoulder strap 40 and a second shoulder strap 42 can be attached to the second panel 24 for carrying the backpack 10 on the back of a user. The first and second shoulder strap 40, 42 can be attached to the second panel 24 by releasable fasteners, by way of example and not limitation, to clips, zippers, adhesive, thread, studs, and any combination thereof. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the first shoulder strap 40 and the second shoulder strap 42 can be attached to any one of the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26 depending on the transport configuration selected.

Referring again to FIG. 4, the sheet of flexible material 20 can have an opposite surface 23 from the common surface 21. A stretcher configuration can be defined with the backpack 10 in a service configuration where the first panel 22, second panel 24, and the third panel 26 are positioned side by side with respect to one another and the backpack 10 is inverted, such that the common surface is facing downwardly and the opposite surface 23 is facing upwardly. An injured person can be strapped to the opposite surface 23 for transportation using first, second, and third patient straps 82, 84, 86. A portion of each patient strap 82, 84, 86 can be associated with opposite sides or edges of the sheet of flexible material 20. By way of example and not limitation, each patient strap 82, 84, 86 can include a buckle for quickly strapping an injured person in position on the opposite surface 23 of the backpack when in the stretcher configuration.

A first rifle loop 90 and a second rifle loop 92 can be attached to the sheet of flexible material 20 along one side or edge for securing a weapon or equipment, such as a rifle, to the backpack 10 when configured in the stretcher configuration. Each loop can include an adjustable hook-and-loop fastener. In addition or alternatively, a pocket 62 can be attached to the common surface 21 for holding a foldable stretcher 64. It should be recognized that the pocket 62 can be provided for carrying a foldable stretcher 64 in lieu of providing the capability of conversion into a stretcher configuration for the backpack 10, if desired.

The sheet of flexible material 20 can have at least one pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material 20. The pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 can be a loop of the sheet of flexible material 20 sewn to itself, or can be formed from separate material and attached to opposite sides or edges of the sheet of flexible material. A first stretcher pole 70 and a second stretcher pole 72 can be received within the at least one pole-receiving sleeve 28, 29 associated with each opposite side of the sheet of flexible material 20 for use in carrying an injured person while in the stretcher configuration. The first stretcher pole 70 and second stretcher pole 72 can be a collapsible configuration, wherein each pole is carried in segments and assembled in the field. By way of example, but not limitation, each segment can be in the form of a hollow pole having a circular, oval, triangular, rectangular, or polygonal cross section, with an elastic rubber band or elastic cord extending through an open interior space of each segment to hold the segments in relation to one another for ease of assembly when needed. The segments of the stretcher poles can be connected to each other by aligning and interlocking fastener connections between adjacent segments, where the elastic cords maintain complementary joint portions on separate segments adjacent to one another simplifying assembly. By way of example and not limitation, collapsible stretcher poles can be configured to include threaded segments joined together by threading a threaded male segment with respect to another complementary threaded female segment. By example, but not limitation, each segment can be made at least in part of a lightweight, but rigid material, such as carbon fiber, aluminum, and any combination thereof. It should be recognized that a portion of the stretcher poles can be located within the pole sleeves forming a framework for the backpack 10. Short connecting members can be provided for attaching the separate pieces of the stretcher poles forming the backpack 10 framework with respect to one another along with stretcher pole handle portions connectable to opposite ends of the assembled poles.

Referring again to FIG. 1, a service configuration can be defined with the first panel 22, second panel 24, and the third panel 24 positioned side by side with respect to one another. A first pallet 50, a second pallet 52, and a third pallet 54 can be attached to the respective first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26. As shown in FIGS. 5A-5C, each pallet 50, 52, 54 can include a first surface 202 and a second surface 204 spaced apart from one another. A plurality of peripheral shapes 210 can be formed in the first surface 202 and connected by straight or tapered surfaces 220 to peripheral shapes 212 with reduced dimensions on the second surface 204. The use of tapered surfaces 220 can create an increasing narrower periphery for engagement with tools, instruments, supplies and/or equipment, by way of example and not limitation, such as hand tools or medical instruments, to be held in place. By way of example but not limitation, the tools instruments, supplies, and/or equipment can include hand tools, and/or medical instruments and/or supplies (not shown) to be held in place by the pallet during transport in the backpack. By way of example and not limitation, the pallets 22, 24, 26 can be manufactured from an open cell or closed cell foam, or other lightweight materials.

As shown in FIG. 5A, at least one of the pallets 50, 52, 54 can include a main backer board 206 of a substantially similar shape to the second surface 204 permanently attached to the second surface 204 to prevent tools from exiting the pallet 50, 52, 54 through the second surface 204 and for adding rigidity to the pallet 50, 52, 54. By way of example, but not limitation, the main backer board 206 can be made of a lightweight material, such as paperboard or plastic. One of the pallets 50, 52, 54 can also contain a plurality of biohazard pouches 60. By way of example, but not limitation, the biohazard pouches can be pliable tear resistant plastic bags or rigid sharps containers.

Referring again to FIG. 6, at least one of the panels 22, 24, 26 can include a supplemental sheet of material 100 attached to the common surface 21 with a first zipper portion 120 extending around a periphery 102 of the panel and a cover member 110 having a second complementary zipper portion 122 extending around the periphery 102, such that the first and second zipper portions are operably engageable with one another for enclosing the pallet 50, 52, 54 therebetween. The cover member 110 can include a transparent window 130 for viewing the contents held by the pallet 50, 52, 54.

Referring again to FIGS. 5A-5C, a pallet 50, 52, 54 for a backpack 10 can securely hold a plurality of medical instruments and/or medical supplies (not shown), where each medical instrument and medical supply can have a corresponding peripheral shape. Each pallet can be made from a foam body with a first surface 202 and a second surface 204 spaced from one another. A plurality of peripheral shapes 210 can be formed in the first surface 202 and connected by straight or tapered surfaces 220 to peripheral shapes 212 of reduced dimensions on the second surface 204 creating an increasing narrower periphery for engagement with medical instruments and/or supplies (not shown) to be held in place. By way of example and not limitation, the peripheral shapes 210, 212 and side edges 220 can be manufactured by water-jet cutting the foam body.

The pallet can have a main backer board 206 of a substantially similar shape to the second surface 204 permanently attached to the second surface 204 to prevent the medical instruments and/or supplies (not shown) from exiting the foam body through the second surface 204. The main backer board 206 can also add rigidity to the foam body 500. By way of example and not limitation, the main backer board 506 can be made of a lightweight material, such as paperboard or plastic.

If desired, the pallet can also include a supplemental board 250 of smaller size and dimension than the main backer board 206. The supplemental board 250 can extend parallel to the first and second surfaces 202, 204 at a position located between the first surface 202 and the second surface 204. The supplemental board 250 can be provided if desired for locating a medical instrument and/or medical supplies at a position closer to the first surface 202 for easier removal of the medical instruments and/or medical supplies (not shown). The supplemental board 250 can be orientated substantially parallel to the main backer board 206. By way of example and not limitation, the supplemental board 250 can be made of a lightweight material, such as paperboard or plastic. The pallet can include at least one hook-and-loop fastener 230 connected to the first surface 202 for retaining one or more medical instruments and/or medical supplies (not shown) in place.

In operation, the backpack 10 is easily transportable on a back of a user when the backpack 10 is in the transport configuration with the first panel 22 folded and stacked with respect to the second panel 24, and the third panel 22 folded and stacked with respect to the first and second panels 22, 24. The backpack 10 can be maintained and secured in the transport configuration by at least one closure strap 30. The user can carry the backpack 10 using first and second shoulder straps 40, 42. When contents of the backpack 10 are needed, the user can convert the backpack 10 into a service configuration defined with the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 24 positioned side by side with respect to one another. At least one panel 22, 24, 26 can have a supplemental sheet of material 100 attached to the common surface 21 with first and second zipper portions 120, 122 operably engageable with respect to one another for enclosing one of the pallets 50, 52, 54. The user can access the tools, by way of example but not limitation, hand tools, medical instruments, medical supplies, and/or equipment contained within and secured by the pallets 50, 52, 54 after unzipping the appropriate zipper portions 120, 122 with respect to one another.

When an injured person requires transportation, the backpack 10 can be converted from the transportation configuration into the stretcher configuration. The user can release the closure strap 30 and unfurl the backpack 10 by positioning the first panel 22, second panel 24, and third panel 26 side by side with respect to one another. The backpack is then inverted by the user. The user can then assemble the first stretcher pole 70 and the second stretcher pole 72 into operable engagement with the pole-receiving sleeves 28, 29 associated with each opposite side or edge of the sheet of flexible material 20. The injured person can be strapped to the opposite surface 23 for transportation using a first patient strap 82, second patient strap 84, and third patient strap 86. A rifle or other weapon of the injured person can be attached to the sheet of flexible material 20 by the first and second rifle loops 90, 92.

If the backpack 10 does not have the stretcher configuration, the user can store a separate foldable stretcher 64 in a pocket 62 provided on the backpack. When an injured person requires transportation, the user can remove the foldable stretcher 64 from the pocket 62 and prepare the foldable stretcher for use.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims, which scope is to be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent structures as is permitted under the law.





 
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