(KTVI)– Fire is one of the most unpredictable dangers. The men and women who respond, never know when they may be trapped in a high-rise with nothing to do but jump.
A new safety tool, called the EZ escape, is an idea that came from a near tragedy. In 2003, fire surrounded Captain Mario Montero and another firefighter on a third floor.
A window was their only way out.
Montero told us “There is no doubt in my mind having this life safety device attached to my body would’ve definitely saved us.”
Every firefighter will get the new safety belt, sometimes called a `bailout` or `self rescue belt.` It’s attached to the oxygen tank so no one will forget it.
First responders can escape without jumping. They have 50 feet of rope. They`ve been training for weeks. They need first-hand experience lowering themselves to safety. Montero added, “Our best hope is never to have to use this life safety device. So always be aware of your situation.”
Inside the building, they need to find something to hook onto. It can include punching a hole in drywall and wrapping the hook around a stud.
At a time when it’s tough to find government money, the fire department got it done with a grant and help from Fireman’s Fund Insurance.
This was an idea that was developed by the St Louis City Fire Department, which worked with a company called ‘Scott,’ to design something specifically for the needs of the men and women who respond to emergencies in St. Louis.