High Visibility Bomber Jackets


Search and Rescue is all about training, training, and more training! When a search is initiated by the Sheriff’s department to locate someone who is lost and possibly injured, all those responding to that call, must be well trained in their specialty. It might be the terrain is so difficult that only those trained in rappelling down sheer rock cliffs will be able to take part in the search. Often dog handlers with specially trained Search Dogs will be used in the search. There are many different areas of expertise and each search & rescue member will have his or her own special task. Search & Rescue members are part of very closely knit teams and each member is aware of their capabilities and the capabilities of their other members so that each may be utilized to their fullest extent.

So they train.

They want to get better at what they do and they want to expand their capabilities so they can be experts in more than one discipline.

My wife and I attended SAREX 2014 at Napa California in September and SARCity 2014 at Barstow California in October. We were there as vendors hoping to sell Bomber Jackets and Gloves to Search & Rescue members. We came away so impressed with what we saw. Most of the Search & Rescue members we met are volunteers. They do not get paid for their time, and usually they must provide their own equipment.

A search for a lost person or persons often goes on for a week, sometimes more, and these volunteers do not accept a dime for their efforts. Truly amazing people! Why do they do it?

I found the answer to that question listening to a few of their stories. When a person is lost, TIME becomes the most important thing. How long have they been lost? Can they be found before it is too late and a Rescue becomes a Recovery mission? The Search & Rescue members will search night and day to locate someone with the hopes of finding them still alive. When that happens, and someone is rescued and airlifted to safety, the exhilaration they feel is unbelievable!

By the same token, when a person is located and it is too late, they ask themselves, “What could we have done better so that person might have been found sooner?” This is what drives the Search & Rescue members. A drive to get better at what they do, and the willingness to drop whatever they are doing and head out on a search at any time day or night!

So, where do we come in with our High Visibility Bomber Jackets and Gloves? It all started in Red Bluff California two years ago when a Search & Rescue member who was a friend of a close relative of ours was looking through my Majestic Glove catalog and discovered a Bomber Jacket that just might be exactly what Search & Rescue members are in need of. It is called an 8-in-1 Transformer Bomber Jacket.

There are 8 different configurations for this jacket. It is an extreme cold weather Waterproof Class 3 ANSI compliant High Visibility Bomber Jacket with a hood. The beauty of this jacket is its ability to adapt to changing weather conditions and temperatures. Maybe the daytime temperatures are warm. The inside fleece liner can be unzipped and removed. Both sleeves unzip and may be stowed away. What is left is a warm weather vest. Later on a storm blows in and the weather turns cold, wet and windy. Zip the parts back together and once again the search member is protected from the rain, cold, and the wind.

When preparing to leave on a search, the member needs only to carry one jacket and he or she will be prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends their way. Our Bomber Jacket can adapt to just about any condition, which is great when you have no idea what could happen over the course of a search mission.

Another great feature of our jackets is their recognizability. Search members needs to be attired in uniformly recognizable clothing. The pilots in helicopters need to be able to see their members on the ground. Our jackets are High Visibility Orange with reflective stripes which is easily recognized anywhere.

My part as owner of “Tom’s Truck Shop”, now becoming, “Tom’s Protective Wear” (a much better name for what we do) is to make this wonderful jacket available to the Search & Rescue member at the lowest possible cost. Truly this jacket is worth $150 or more. We are selling it for $87.50 for a single jacket and as low as $75 when team members get together and order them as a group. (35 or more jackets and the price goes down to $73 each).

But that really isn’t the whole story. What I want to do for these dedicated volunteers is provide them with the best service. One of the most important things about getting the right jacket, is determining the correct size. Since these jackets are designed for extreme cold weather, they are somewhat bulky though very comfortable to wear. Because of this they appear to run small. A search member really needs to try on various sizes to determine what is the best size for them.

Arrangements can be made for Tom’s Truck Shop/Tom’s Protective Wear to come to the monthly meetings of the Search & Rescue teams for this purpose.

The jackets often need to be lettered on the back, maybe a County Sheriff’s logo needs to be silkscreened on the back of the jackets to identify them as members of a particular Search & Rescue team. Many of the members have their names put on the fronts of the jackets. I take personal charge of making sure each jacket is exactly as each member desires.