SUSU scientists created a unique device which will save firefighters lives

SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology scientists offered a way of modifying of compressed breathing apparatus which is used be firefighters during a fire fighting. Additional button on protective equipment will help to save the life of firefighter in an emergency situation.

For a work in unsuitable for breathing environment and poor visibility due to smoke firefighters use personal protective equipment, including compressed air breathing apparatus. Such apparatus contains three main parts: panoramic mask, compressed air storage tank and suspension system with a waist and shoulder straps. The respirator protects the respiratory system and firefighter’s eyes from combustion product, providing him with oxygen during a fire fighting.

«Regular compressed air breathing apparatus equipped with an alarm device that is triggered automatically only when the pressure in the cylinder decreases, when the air in it runs out», explains Georgy Polunin, Associate Professor of the Department of Life Safety at SUSU. – The signal warns the firefighter that it is time for him to leave the smoke-filled location before the reserve air supply is completely exhausted. But an emergency situation may occur along the way, an accident – a roof collapse, injury, which can immobilize a person. The firefighter has no air left in the balloon and cannot move – this is a critical situation when a rescuer technically cannot send a distress signal to his comrades at any moment and risks death."

According to statistics from the Department of Supervision and Preventive Work EMERCOM of Russia for the period 2021-2023, 32 rescuers died from injuries while extinguishing fires on the territory of the Russian Federation. In more than 50% of cases, the unforeseen death of firefighters on duty is due to dislocations, fractures, cuts and bruises received in an inhospitable environment during firefighting. And the disadvantage of the standard compressed air breathing apparatus is precisely the inability to sound a distress signal to firefighters when they are injured.

To solve this problem Chelyabinsk scientists have developed a unique part for breathing apparatus that allows you to quickly locate a firefighter in an accident in an unsuitable for breathing environment. The patented development is a small-sized (about 10 cm) metal connecting tee consisting of a signal whistle and a forced air supply button. The first branch of the connecting tree is attached to the high-pressure hose of the cylinder, the second branch is attached to the forced air supply button and the signal whistle, the third is connected to the air control pressure gauge. The advantage of the new device is that the «alarm button» can be pressed at the moment when it is necessary, unlike the standard version of the device, which cannot be affected in an emergency.

«Our device in seconds attached with a fitting to suspension system of a compressed air breathing apparatus, - says a master of SUSU Department of Life Safety Andrey Dubrovskikh. – The device is attached in the front on shoulder strap and it is always available. All the injured firefighter has to do is press the button, air will flow from the balloon and a loud signal will be heard from the whistle, according to which comrades will be able to quickly find a partner who is in a serious condition to help him leave the smoke-filled room and provide the first necessary assistance».

There are no similar developments such as SUSU scientists’. Potentially such useful model can be used not only on ABA, but also on compressed oxygen isolation breathing apparatus, which rescue workers use in emergency situation while working underground and mountain rescue work.

Екатерина Больных
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