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New fire escape hoods piloted after Grenfell Tower tragedy

NEW life-saving kit to protect casualties against toxic smoke is being used for the first time by firefighters in Christchurch.

Brought in following recommendations from the Phase 1 report of the Grenfell Tower public inquiry, the fire escape hoods provide at least 15 minutes of protection from toxic fire-related gases, vapours and particles.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service procured the hoods from last September, training began in February and the first supplies were delivered to fire stations across the county last month. All of the service’s fire engines are set to carry the hoods by the end of April.

A fire escape hood in use during a training exercise (46003986)
A fire escape hood in use during a training exercise (46003986)

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: “Although prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire, these hoods are not limited to use in high-rise buildings. They are suitable for any situation where a member of the public has to be moved to safety through a smoke-filled area.

“Fifteen minutes of protection against toxic smoke can make the difference between life and death. We would always prefer an escape route away from smoke, but that isn’t always possible.”

They are used when people need to be evacuated through a smoke-filled location, and it is not possible to use other exits, such as a ladder or a smoke-free staircase.

Firefighters tested the hoods in the Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole area during four high-rise exercises in November and December.

Seventy-two people tragically lost their lives after flames engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London, in the early hours of 14th June 2017.

A video showing how the hoods are fitted can be found at bit.ly/2PSmJlv

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