Essex PB&R makes safety its business. When it comes to the ability to see, breathe and survive during a disaster, Essex PB&R is the company homeland defense, law enforcement and first responders count on. Pat Whiteman reports.
A letter from the Marshfield Police Depart-ment of Marshfield, Mass. posted on Essex PB&R’s Web site says it all. It is an acknowledgment to the company for its Victim Rescue Unit (VRU) product, a unique smoke hood used for industrial applications and fire protection. On Jan. 22, 2004, the product enabled two police officers who arrived first at an apartment fire to enter the building and evacuate 12 residents without injury.
Quite simply, the products Essex PB&R makes save lives. Essex PB&R offers a wide range of protective breathing equipment for homeland defense, law enforcement, victim rescue, first responders, emergency building evacuation, private and commercial airline pilot and crew, corporate/executive/commercial passenger and household protection.
Its equipment is engineered to withstand high heat, fumes, smoke and offers respiratory protection again deadly particulate, toxic carbon monoxide gas and with one version, protection against Sarin and mustard gases.
The units each have a sealed bottle of compressed oxygen (its protective breathing equipment or PBE has two). The user activates the oxygen by simply opening the hood from the sealed protective pouch, snaps open the hood, or pulls a little red initiation ball on string, slips the patented neck seal apart and then over the head. The patented silicone neck seal secures the hood in place and keeps out the toxic fumes.
Certified & Traceable
Essex PB&R products are onboard around the world. Its protective breathing equipment (PBEs) are in use by about 90 percent of major U.S. airlines like American, Southwest, United, Northwest, Delta, America West, Frontier, Horizon, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Spirit, UPS and others. In addition, the United States Air Force, many U.S. Government Agencies, U.S. Security Forces, other foreign militaries and corporate business travelers use its VRU (victim rescue unit) and SCU (self contained unit) smoke hoods (the only products on the market today which offer their own independent source of oxygen). Plus, its systems are protecting personnel at industrial copper mines and other hazardous industrial sites.
The company also supplies over 180,000 Emergency Passenger Oxygen Systems (EPOS) to the United States Air force. “The airline and military business is very solid. Our filtered products have helped carry our company forward and make us solid and strong financially. This has afforded us the opportunity to explore new product development,” says vice president Dave Hurley.
Clear Way to Safety
Essex PB&R is very excited about its latest product offering. The new Plus 15 is a high-quality, low-cost filtered escape hood that gives wearers a life-saving 15 minutes of protection. “It’s an excellent choice for fire and smoke emergencies,” says Hurley. “It filters outside air clean and gives wearers an extra 15 minutes of life-saving protection.” Geared to the general population, as well as its regular market, the product is currently under review for EN 403 certification. The device protects against carbon monoxide and the clear FEP hood offers maximum visibility. The Plus 15 has a five- and a-half-year shelf life, which lowers replacement cost, is lightweight, portable and easy to use. Additionally, one size fits most adults. “It is really a cost-effective solution for large groups or individuals,” adds Hurley.
The company has future plans to purchase the assets of Brookdale International, a Vancouver, British Columbia company also in the business of creating filter devices. “We’re looking to grow our product line even more and improve on a lot of their designs and introduce new products to the market. We’ve been around a long time and with all the different divisions of Essex that specialize in respiratory and medical products we have a wealth of experience to draw on. We have an exceptional foundation. This is what we’re good at.”