Large-scale incidents of a Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) nature generally occur without warning, meaning initial first on scene response is likely to be conducted by frontline emergency services personnel rather than specialised units, particularly in cases where the threat is unknown. Consequently, emergency services have expressed a desire to be prepared for any potential threat and investigate and action the procurement of CBRN protection to all emergency personnel. For this kind of respiratory protection to be successful, it needs to be low-profile, simple to use, with a quick don time, as well as cause no interference with both the existing ensemble of equipment used by the operator or with their job role.
A respiratory escape device is designed to provide a period of protection to enable a safe escape from the threat at hand. A key differentiator of an escape device, such as an escape hood, is that it is designed and approved by certifying bodies only for escape. Whereas typical Air Purifying Respirators (APRs) are approved by certifying bodies to be used in the workplace for the completion of tasks and job roles, Air Purifying Escape Respirators (APERs) are approved only for the evacuation of a hazardous environment. APERs, like the CH15 from Avon Protection, occupy a small footprint, allowing them to be carried at all times, with no maintenance, minimal training and no annual fit testing, meaning they offer a compact, potentially life-saving device, which they can use to escape the incident area and subsequently regroup at a safe zone.
One key advantage of APERs is their compact size, allowing them to be carried at all times. Furthermore, they typically require no servicing for the duration of their shelf life and have a lower purchase price than SCBA offerings, reducing the total cost of ownership.