What is Escape Air Vest (EAV)? It’s an Emergency Escape Breathing Device (EEBD) containing breathable air for use in a fire/smoke emergency or in any situation in which breathing may become impaired.
The EAV owes its innovation and now production to the inventor Gary Hicks and his experience of over 24 years in the Royal Navy. It is a fact to say it was made in the Royal Navy but born because of Grenfell and other similar incidents. Another significant contributor is the UAE where Gary has been inspired to produce this innovative EEBD for the last 12 years.
The EAV is an easy to wear vest that has ‘on demand’ breathable air to ensure that when passing through a smoke enriched environment you will not be overcome by the toxic fumes given off! Gary spoke to many industry related experts throughout the research and development phase of the EAV and was left without any doubt that a number of lives would have been saved in the Grenfell Tower incident as well as others throughout the world if they had the chance of wearing the EAV.
EAV is extremely adaptable and can be used in any number of scenarios. Weighing less than 3KG with 0.5L of ‘on demand’ air at 200bar it gives valuable breathing air to anyone finding themselves in a smoke enriched environment. The torch, whistle, nose clip, glow sticks and safety glasses are useful tools for warning, locating and helping others. The lanyard is fitted so you clip onto other EAV users and escape together. Being rechargeable is another significant advantage of this unique EEBD.
The EAV’s innovation through experience could be confirmed by the majority of personnel who have served in any of the armed forces or emergency services because these are the basic tools required to make a successful escape! The bottle is worn on the front of the vest and air is supplied via a hose and coupling from a single stage regulator. It is on the front just like when a woman is pregnant as protection is given by having your hands free to use when and if required during your escape. Anyone who has survived such a traumatic experience as escaping from an incident will tell you that the loss of vision and not being able to breathe is terrifying and having your hands free to protect and feel your way out is an absolute must!
The EAV as stated previously is on demand air therefore unless you ask for air by breathing in, it will not be released by the regulator. This gives you the ability to use the air sparingly as you make your escape through less smoke enriched areas! Being able to recharge and use again is a great innovation and means you can practice with the EAV prior to using it in an incident.
One of the great mysteries to Gary was if the fire and rescue service personnel wear breathing apparatus to go into a building then surely the people in the building require the very same clean breathable air! Obviously, there are a couple of devices that are out there but for a number of reasons have never grabbed the imagination of the industry or the people working and living in tall buildings. There is a hood that you rely on filters (one use only) to give you clean air, but the firefighters don’t wear this hood and since we were all 2 years old our parents have categorically stated do not put a plastic bag on our head!
The other is also a plastic bag and you have to clear the build-up of CO2 as you could be overcome by the CO2 and lose consciousness if you do not vent. It was very clear to Gary that something easy to operate and not claustrophobic was required.
The EAV had to be adaptable and innovative in a changing world, Grenfell exposed the failing building regulations structure not only above 30m but also at 18m and 11m.
With a basic training package to show people how to use the EAV it could make a significant impact not just in its cost effectiveness but also in the many mental health issues people are suffering in the buildings that have fire safety issues.
For more information, go to www.escapeairvest.com