About the Challenge

The Escape Respirator Challenge, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, invites you to submit ideas to protect end users from aerosolized chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) hazards and allow for safe egress from a smoke-filled and oxygen-deficient environment.

Currently available escape hoods have several shortcomings for all hazards protection. One shortcoming is an inability of some designs to be packaged compactly such that it can be carried discreetly by an individual (e.g., small enough in size to fit conveniently within a suit coat inner pocket). Another shortcoming is the lack of an oxygen delivery mechanism for respiratory protection when worn in an oxygen-deficient environment (e.g., smoke-filled). Current designs have incorporated solutions to one of the above shortcomings, but none have adequate solutions for both problems.

The escape respirator solutions should be capable of being donned rapidly and provide delivery of oxygen for safe egress from smoke-filled, oxygen-deficient, and CBR environments. Although commercial solutions exist, they aren’t small enough to be carried in a coat pocket. Also, the weight is great due to the design and packaging of the current commercial solutions. Be sure to review the Design Guidelines, which contain the specifics for creating a more competitive application.