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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

Smoke Escape hoods- An excellent addition to our rescue equipment

Date : 29 September 2021

East Sussex Fire & Rescue in collaboration with Surrey Fire & Rescue and West Sussex Fire & Rescue are currently equipping their firefighters with smoke escape hoods for members of the public to use in the event of a fire.  

A smoke escape hood is worn over the head and prevents any smoke or toxic gasses from getting in.  Smoke escape hoods enable the person to breathe safe clean air in smokey atmospheres.  

Our firefighters will use the smoke escape hood if they need to evacuate the public, rescue someone or keep them safe in a fire. All of our firefighters are trained in how to safely assess a situation and fit the smoke escape hoods to people if needed.  Our firefighters will help and assist a person in putting on a smoke escape hood and will ensure that you feel comfortable and safe. Once the smoke escape hood is fitted, our firefighters will stay with you at all times and ensure that you are led to safety.   Smoke escape hoods fit everyone from a small child to an adult.

Great addition to our rescue equipment 

Bex Washington (Watch Manager from the Operational Planning & Policy Team) said: ‘We are really pleased that we have got these pieces of equipment.  They are very simple but at the same time, very effective and are a great addition to our rescue equipment.” 

How do smoke escape hoods work?

A smoke escape hood is worn over the head. The tight seal around the hood’s collar prevents any smoke from getting in. So the only air you’ll breathe comes through the filter, which removes the toxic gasses found in smoke – providing clean, safe air for at least 15 minutes.

They also feature an anti-fog visor, which will allow you to see better in a hot, foggy environment.

They are fully tested and maintained by our staff, and if unopened have an eight year shelf-life.

When we will use them?

In the unlikely event that a fire starts and gets to a point where normal means of escape routes have become affected by smoke, Smoke escape hoods can be used when we’re trying to get someone through a smoke-filled area, or when we need someone to stay in a smokey environment until we can lead them to safety. They buy us more time.

All of our firefighters are trained in how to assess a situation and work out if a smoke escape hood is needed.

However, we will never force you to wear a smoke escape hood. Our firefighters will explain what the hood does, and how to put one on, but you can choose not to.

How to put them on

The hoods are very easy to put on, and fit all shapes and sizes.

If you need to put on a smoke escape hood, a firefighter will give you as much help as you need, but it’s very simple.

If you’re wearing glasses, you’ll need to remove them first. But don’t worry – a firefighter will help guide you if needed.

What happens next?

Once you’re wearing a smoke escape hood, you may be led to safety, or a firefighter will stay with you until a safe exit route is made.


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