Fareham firefighter’s lifesaving device to be rolled out to the Royal Navy

Pete Broomfield with his invention
 Picture: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Pete Broomfield with his invention Picture: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
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  • Simple gadget aims to protect sailors battling blazes in warships
  • The kit prevents debris and cables from getting caught in between firefighter’s breathing apparatus and clothes
  • Royal Navy said invention will ‘save lives’
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THE lives of navy crews at sea will be made safer thanks to a pioneering invention by a Hampshire firefighter.

The ground-breaking anti-tangle strap was designed to protect fire crews from getting caught in falling cables and trapped while tackling a blaze.

It definitely saves lives... Nobody would go to an incident without this strap now

Chris Eastland, emergency response team leader at Portsmouth Naval Base

The device, designed by Fareham Fire Station’s acting crew manager Pete Broomfield, bridges the space between the back of the pack and the cylinder on breathing apparatus.

And it is now being rolled out to hundreds of sailors on all Royal Navy vessels over the next two years.

Colonel Mike Tanner, Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base praised Pete’s ingenuity, saying the simple strap offered a ‘common sense’ way to protect sailors.

He added: ‘We’ve already trialled the equipment with Royal Navy fire experts in our Phoenix Fire Fighting facility with very positive results.’

The navy has been working hard to boost its fire safety at the base, recently conducting a number of joint training operations and drills with Hampshire Fire and Rescue.

Pete’s device is already being used by defence giant BAE Systems on all its breathing apparatuses.

And there has been interest from fire crews as far afield as Canada and the US.

Chris Eastland, emergency response team leader at the naval base, said: ‘The simplest designs are often the best and this is fantastic.

‘It seems obvious but nobody had thought of it before. It definitely saves lives and helps us deal with incidents more quickly whether carrying out a rescue or locating a fire.

‘Nobody would go to an incident without this strap now.’

The idea came after Pete was involved in a fatal fire in Shirley Towers, Southampton, in 2010, in which two firefighters died. An investigation identified falling cables as a factor in the tragedy.

Pete said: ‘It is fantastic news that this is being rolled out to the military. It is extremely gratifying to think that something I created off the cuff will be making lives safer in other services.’