Firefighters from London Fire Brigade are among the first in the UK to carry fire escape hoods to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The hoods will provide members of the public with up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people. If more than 15 minutes protection is required then another hood can be given to each wearer.
They do not provide oxygen but temporarily filter toxic smoke to make breathing easier. Firefighters will be able to offer people a hood to wear whilst they are being rescued and they will also be used to protect those who aren't able to escape easily, such as the elderly or wheelchair users.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Mills explains "Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and can render people unconscious within a few breaths. These hoods filter out four of the most dangerous gases, including what we call the 'toxic twins' of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide."
Following extensive research and testing which included the redesign of the pouch to fit better with the Brigade's breathing apparatus sets, around 600 fire escape hoods will be rolled out to firefighters across London's 102 fire stations in the next few months.