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What Is an Escape Hood? What Is It Used For?

EEBDs (emergency escape breathing devices) are common in specific work environments. Escape hoods and escape respirators protect employees from occupational diseases. But having one at home is handy, too. 

We’ve come to a place where we must expect the unexpected. Adding escape hoods to a family emergency plan or fire drill isn’t an overreaction; it’s just preparation.

Let’s look at precisely what escape hoods are and how you may find them helpful.

What is an escape hood?

Emergency Escape Hood Bag EEH-500 Black & Orange With Clip Fabric 14"x9.5"

An escape hood, or escape respirator, is a form of protective gear. It minimizes exposure to certain dangerous substances.

  • Dust
  • Fumes
  • Gas
  • Mists
  • Smoke
  • Vapors

What is an escape hood used for?

An escape hood will give you fifteen minutes to escape a dangerous situation. It is fifteen more minutes than you would have without one.

The respiratory-specific PPE will block chemicals from your eyes and skin and prevent you from inhaling damaging particles. 

Oh, and an escape respirator gives you oxygen in situations where there is none or little. 

Fires Happen Fast

Escape hoods are sometimes part of fire evacuation plans at work or school. During a fire emergency, every second is precious, which means going through drills. Everyone must understand when and how to use them.

The same goes for family fire drills. More practice means less chaos in the case of a catastrophe.

How do you wear an escape hood?

Always read and follow the instructions. Most escape hoods work pretty well the same, but unless you use them correctly, they are entirely useless.

  1. Carefully open the packaging and remove the escape hood.
  2. Unfold the protective gear.
  3. Give the emergency escape hood opening a good stretch so that you can pull it over your head.
  4. The front of the mask should have a cup and two vents. 
  5. Pull the hood open down tightly around the bottom of your neck.
  6. The cup must cover your nose and mouth and sit below your chin.
  7. You will have two straps on the back. Grab them and pull them to secure the escape hood.
  8. The hood opening needs to touch your neck all the way around.
  9. You can now start breathing normally because the hood is doing its job.

When should escape respirators be used?

An Emergency Escape Hood Only Works If…

  • It’s the correct type of respirator and is available during an emergency.
  • You know how to take it on and off properly and safely. PPE needs to be easy to don and meet standards.
  • The escape hood has been properly stored and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What are the cons of an escape hood?

You will find all sorts of EEBDs. Emergency escape hoods come with the most pros. But, like with everything, you should know a couple of things before investing in one.

  • Expensive. You’re looking at around $1,000 for a standard, certified escape hood. PPE is never cheap, but sometimes it is the thing that saves a life.
  • Single-use. You only get one use. Granted, if it works, it was well worth the cost. Just make sure it’s out of the reach of kids and pets.
  • An emergency escape hood can’t be used in O2-deficient atmospheres. An escape hood does not work for every emergency.

FAQs about Escape Hoods

What respirator is intended to be used only for an emergency exit?

Emergency escape hoods are only meant to get you out of a hairy situation. For instance, if a nuclear bomb just dropped, an escape-only respirator isn’t doing much to protect you from the fallout.

But an emergency-specific respirator will help you escape a raging housefire.

How long is an escape respirator good for?

The most basic form of an escape hood will give you an extra fifteen minutes in specific emergencies. 

But you can find some that will last up to an hour. But remember that escape respirators are for one-time use and are super expensive.

Will an escape hood protect me if there is not enough oxygen in the air?

An escape hood is an emergency-only short-time solution. It only provides you with time; it will only give you fifteen or so minutes to get somewhere with sufficient air.

By AlwaysReadyHQ Team

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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

The AlwaysReadyHQ Team is made up of writers and editors with experience ranging from emergency paramedics to former FEMA policy writers to natural disaster reporters.

Our goal is to provide clear, concise, organized, realistic, and actionable information to help you and your family feel comfortable and ready for anything. Less scared and more prepared.

We only source from authoritative sources such as government agencies and industry associations to bring reliable information to directly to you.

Andrew Riley - Contributing Editor

Andrew grew up in a country known for earthquakes, volcanoes, and typhoons. But despite the chaos and destruction of natural disasters, he remembers the resilience and readiness of neighbors, despite a lack of official government aid. He hopes that his team of experienced writers bring a bit of that to all of AlwaysReadyHQ's readers.