Kent and London firefighters to carry fire escape hoods

Kent Fire and Rescue Service is one of two fire and rescue services in the UK now carrying escape hoods to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires.

The introduction of the new kit comes as a result of collaborative working with London Fire Brigade, who’ve also issued the hoods to their crews.

The hoods have a filter that provides up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases (Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogen Chloride and Acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people.

Firefighters will be able to offer people a hood to wear while they are being rescued and they will also be used to protect those who aren’t able to escape easily, such as the elderly or wheelchair users.

All of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s whole-time and on-call fire engines started carrying smoke hoods on 11 February, and additional hoods have also been supplied to support vehicles.

The introduction of the hoods followed extensive research and testing, including a redesign of the pouch to enable it to fit better with KFRS’ breathing apparatus sets.

Firefighting Tactics Manager Phil Bailey, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said, “The hoods are now being carried on all of our front line fire engines and they’re another important tool that crews can use to help protect those they are assisting at incidents. This is another step forward for Kent Fire and Rescue Service in its mission to provide the most effective customer focused response possible.”

Ann Millington, Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said, “We’re really pleased to have worked in partnership with our colleagues at London Fire Brigade, as well as the Fire Brigades Union, to progress this project and introduce smoke hoods as a standard part of the kit our crews carry. Having the hoods on our fire engines further enhances our ability to look after our customers and help keep them safe.  Services across the UK have been following progress in this project and will be adopting this excellent practice.”