Emergency escape breathing devices EEBDs
Emergency escape breathing devices EEBDs are especially designed for emergency evacuation situations or when ambient air gets suddenly contaminated with abnormal concentrations of a pollutant or poorly oxygenated (<19.5%). These emergency breathing devices are gathered into two major categories: on one side escape respirators and emergency escape hoods (air purifying respiratory protection), and on the other side self-rescuers (atmosphere supplying respiratory protection).
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Escape respirators and escape hoods
An escape respirator is a simplified gas mask. This type of emergency escape breathing device is composed by a nose clip and a mouthpiece that features a specific respiratory protective filter (ABEK filter). These respirators are efficient against presence of organic, inorganic (except carbon monoxide), acids, ammonia and sulfur compounds.
Emergency evacuation hoods are designed through the same operating principle. Indeed, they are using an ABEK type respiratory protective filter but with a hood that will protect the user from substances that may irritate the eyes such as chlorine or ammonia.
Given that they are air purifying respiratory protective devices, emergency escape respirators or evacuation hoods can only be used if the oxygen rate in ambient air exceeds 19.5% of the volume.
These EEBDs are also called closed-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus (C-C SCBA). This means that expired air is treated and re-oxygenated with a small compressed air cylinder (self-rescuer mask with compressed oxygen) or a potassium superoxide (KO2) cartridge (self-rescuer mask with chemical oxygen generation).
Self-rescuer masks – or self-contained self-rescue devices SCSR – are required in case of oxygen deficiency or when the concentration of a pollutant in ambient air is too high to be efficiently purified. This kind of device is most commonly used for emergency evacuation from confined spaces. ()
Escape SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus)
These emergency escape breathing devices - EEBDs - are « tiny » self-contained breathing apparatus compacted in a carrying bag that usually feature an emergency escape hood and a lower autonomy compared to standard SCBAs (from 10 to 20 minutes). Yet they are slightly heavier and less practical than SCSR masks (self-contained self-rescuers).
Once the user opens the bag, air is instantly released from the compressed air cylinder thanks to a pin system. Then the user just needs to pull the hood on its head to breathe normally and safely during evacuation. Contrary to self-rescuers, these devices are not made for single use. These emergency escape breathing devices can indeed be refilled with compressed air after use, which offers a real economic advantage.