According to the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control)“most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns.” Some sources indicate that “inhalation injury from smoke and the noxious products of combustion in fires may account for as many as 60-80% of fire-related deaths in the US, many of which are preventable.”
With approximately 2,755 people (not including firefighters) in the United State dying from fires each year, this means that over 2,000 people might be spared death each year if they were to have a smoke mask or smoke hood.
Quite simply, smoke masks and smoke hoods can save lives in a fire. No matter how quickly firefighters respond to a fire, the danger from smoke inhalation has already begun before they can arrive on the scene. By the time smoke and toxic fumes begin to form and set off smoke detectors, people are already in danger.
That’s why it makes sense to have a smoke mask or smoke hood to give you time to evacuate safely from a burning house, office, or high-rise buildings. Smoke and toxic fumes will often spread faster throughout a structure than the flames themselves. This means that safe evacuation is often possible if one can just protect their breathing long enough to get out of the building and away from the smoke and toxic fumes caused by the fire.
In many cases the 15 minutes or so of protection provided by some smoke masks (e.g. Xcaper Smoke Mask) may be adequate for safe evacuation. In other cases, such as in a high-rise building or large facility, it may be important to have up to 30 minutes to escape. Some smoke hoods (eg. IEvac Fire Escape Hood) provide this length of protection or more.
Some evacuation smoke mask kits also provide eye protection from smoke. All Smoke hoods provide eye protection and some smoke hoods provide a certain level of heat protection for the whole head. Not all smoke hoods are of the same quality and protection level. Make sure you are getting a lot more than a simple plastic bag with a filter.
In general, the more severe the potential fire and smoke environment one might anticipate, the more advisable it may be to have a smoke hood. For less extreme environments, a smoke mask kit may prove adequate protection.
As fires may often be associated with wider disasters from terrorism or other man-made or even natural events (e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes), one might also consider a combination evacuation kit. Evacuation emergency kits such as the Disaster & Fire Evacuation Kit (80020) are designed to get you out of a fire safely and then to support you for up to three days in a more widespread disaster in which help may not be immediately available to all victims.
A combination emergency evacuation kit helps you to cover all emergency bases and can be used in a non-fire emergency as well. Such kits can make a lot of sense for use at home or at work and can be kept at one’s bedside at home or in a desk drawer or office shelf at work.
No matter where you live or work, fire and the related smoke and toxic fumes are one of the greatest dangers you may face. As with all emergencies, advanced preparation can often help avoid injuries or death and allow one to be calm when faced with a threatening situation.
As literally thousands of lives could be saved with the use of a smoke mask or smoke hood, its worth considering the purchase. This is especially true as a smoke mask protection can now be purchased for less than $100. Even very sophisticated smoke hoods can be purchased for less than $200. This puts such protection within the reach of most businesses and families.
While a smoke detector may be the key to an early alert in case of fire, a smoke hood or smoke mask may be the key to a quick and safe evacuation from a burning building.
Consider your risk and be sure to chose the smoke mask or smoke hood that is best suited for the potential risks where you live or work. At LifeSecure Emergency Solutions we have chosen to carry the Xcaper smoke masks and IEvac Fire Escape Hood as we consider them to be among the best and most user friendly fire evacuation protection devices in the industry. Both of these smoke mask products are well suited for quick and easy deployment in a fire evacuation.
Click here for more information on preparing to survive a fire.
Click here for more information on preparing to survive a wildfire.