Shortly after starting LifeSecure, one of our co-founders, Larry Ginsberg, lost a friend to a high rise fire. Larry's friend died in the locked stairwell of a downtown high rise building in a major US city. Though the flames never reached his friend and the others who perished with her, the smoke from the fire did. The firefighters had responded quickly but didn't get to them in time to save them.
Larry commented to me that if his friend and the others each were to have had some kind of fire mask or hood, they likely would have been able to move through the smoke to safety on another floor or been able to successfully exit the building.
This tragedy sparked in Larry a determination to find simple, effective, and affordable smoke protection solutions for high rise workers and dwellers. Because of his personal experience and desire to help others avoid injury in fires, we agreed that Larry would take the lead in finding fire protection products to add to our LifeSecure Emergency Solutions offerings.
Larry found that most fatalities from fires (about 75%) are caused by inhaling smoke and gases, especially carbon monoxide, rather than from the actual flames. He also understood that few employers and individuals could afford or would be adequately trained to use full protective fire suits. Therefore, a practical and affordable smoke mask or hood would provide the greatest opportunity to protect the most people in case of a fire.
Recent experience with an increasing number of wildfires in the West made us determined to find solutions that work for high rise fires and for wildfires as well.
After considerable research and interaction with manufacturers of various smoke masks and hoods, LifeSecure has introduced both the Xcaper series of smoke masks and the iEvac Fire Escape Hood. You can see our full fire protection product offering in the Fire Preparation section of LifeSecure.com.
Here are a few fire protection products that we now feature at LifeSecure.com and that may help you prepare for a fire in your home, office, or facility:
The Xcaper series of smoke masks uses the same patented technology that has been used for many years to protection wildland firefighters. After the September 11 attacks, the Xcaper series was launched specifically to provide ordinary people with a product for use in evacuating high rise buildings during fires or a terrorist attack.
Xcaper Enterprise Smoke Mask Kit (34120) This kit includes a longer shelf life mask - 5 years. It provides a minimum of 15 minutes of protection (depending on conditions) against hazardous toxins including carbon monoxide and absorbs nearly 100% of particulate matter common to smoke from fires. This kit is packed in a Hip Pac that can be attached to a belt, and in addition to the mask and a set of Xcaper goggles, also includes the Xcaper emergency whistle and LED flashlight on a lanyard. This fire protection product is a good option for protecting employees in most high rise offices and may be preferred by people looking for protection in their high rise dwellings.
Many businesses will find the longer shelf to be of value. High rise office workers and people using this kit for protection in a condo or apartment may like the flashlight as it can provide emergency light while putting on the mask as well as while making one's way through what may well be darkened rooms and hallways in a fire situation. The whistle can help rescue workers find the user more easily in the smoke and darkness.
This smoke mask kit has a suggested retail price of $54.95. This equates to about $11.00 per person per year of protection.
iEvac Fire Escape Hood (34100) For those situations in which an evacuation may take up to 30 minutes or increased protection is desired, this fire escape hood may best meet your fire protection needs. The iEvac Fire Escape Hood provides protection again carbon monoxide, smoke, hydogen cynide, chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride for up to 30 minutes. The iEvac is the first fire hood certified to the American National Standard for Smoke Escape Hoods (ANSI/ISEA 110-2003) - Respiratory Protective Smoke Escape Device (RPED).
The hood is easy to put on and protects the full head against radiant heat. One size fits all adults. It can be used to escape fires in homes, offices, high-rise buildings and other fire causing disasters. The iEvac has a 5 year shelf life and a suggested retail price of $189.95. This equates to about $37.99 per person per year of protection.
As is common with so many other emergency preparedness products, one can get signicant protection from the hazards of smoke from fires for relatively few dollars per year over the lifetime of the product. When one considers the very real hazards from fire, the investment in a smoke mask or hood amounts to just good common sense for those who live or work in high rise buildings or who are in other environments where there is a high fire risk.
Every Life Secure
An Emergency Preparedness Blog helping to make "Every Life Secure" in any emergency or disaster... at home, work, school, or on-the-go