Firefighters in South Yorkshire have started carrying fire escape hoods to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires.
The smoke hoods 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.
Head of Emergency Response Andy Strelczenie, said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and just a few breaths can render you unconscious. These hoods filter out the most dangerous gases.
“These hoods will also provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route, as opposed to simply getting people out as quickly as possible.
“Fire crews have been trained in their use and we think the money we’ve spent on them is a relatively small price to pay for something which has the potential to save someone’s life.”
More than 100 of the hoods have been bought, under a National Fire Chief’s Council procurement framework.
Smoke hoods are amongst the innovations fire and rescue services were recommended to adopt following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.