A life jacket for buildings

Issue 6 2020 Editor's Choice

In most cases, fires and other emergencies in buildings can be recognised early and evacuation procedures can commence to prevent serious injury and loss of life. The problem is that many injuries or even fatalities can occur during the evacuation as a result of smoke, noxious fumes and gas, which, when inhaled, can quickly disorient and even disable people, which could lead to death.

To provide a means for individuals to safely escape from buildings in a fire or other emergency, Gary Hicks, who boasts over 25 years’ experience across the military and the private security sector working in high-risk health and safety environments, has developed the Escape Air Vest (EAV).

The EAV is a purpose-designed vest which provides the user with on-demand air supply and other safety gear to help them escape from incidents such as fire, smoke, poisonous gases, and biological contamination. It is a versatile product and has the advantage of usability across many industries, including oil and gas, mining, building services, police and defence services, security and even the leisure industry – virtually anywhere there could be an issue with smoke and/or gas inhalation.

The EAV allows people to breathe clean air for a prolonged period in a smoke contaminated atmosphere. It could also provide vital breathing minutes while you await rescue or rescue someone.

The vest includes a number of devices to assist the user in addition to the emergency escape breathing device (EEBD) – a self-contained compressed air apparatus. A fully kitted vest includes:

- The air bottle and regulator.

- Whistle.

- Torch.

- Safety eyewear holder.

- Retractable lanyard.

- Nose clip.

- Mouthpiece.

- Cellphone holder.

- Glow sticks.

Using the EAV is simple

The EAV is easy for anyone to use. The user slips the vest over their shoulders or head and secures it comfortably with Velcro. If air is required, the mouthpiece is placed in the mouth and the nose clip covers the nose, and then breathing can continue normally. If required, safety eyewear can be placed over your eyes. When groups of people are evacuating together, the lanyards can be used to ensure everyone stays together.

The EAV tank and regulator should be stored full or with some positive pressure to prevent contaminants from entering the cylinder, in a clean, dry environment. Industry guidelines recommend replacing air in cylinders annually, but inspection by a professional maintainer is recommended.

The EAV is a cost-effective solution in evacuating people safely from an enriched smoke environment. Developed in the UK, the EAV is also available in the UAE and is now also available in Africa from LSC Risk & Security Solutions. A video demonstration of the device is available at www.escapeairvest.com. Users with specific requirements can customise the EAV to their needs.

Proving the need for a solution like the EAV, market research company IMARC notes that the “global emergency escape breathing device market grew at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 11% during 2014-2019”. In addition, the EAV was a finalist in the Safety & Health Excellence Awards 2020.

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