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JANUARY 2014 ISSUE


ST53 system supplies a unique capability, particularly around forced entry, which is not currently available in the market outside Avon
Commercial Director, Avon Protection, Matthew Evans
 
Commercial Director, Avon Protection, Matthew EvansAvon has a vast expertise in the CBRN Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE). In your assessment, what opportunities do you see for PPE in India?

The world is changing and so are the threats we face. Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) respirators or gas masks first appeared in World War I, in 1915, in an attempt to resolve the deadlock of two armies facing each other.

Till now respirators have been designed for similar confrontations, making a significant appearance in the Iran-Iraq war where again chemical and biological weapons were used with deadly effect. With the arrival of the nuclear threat after 1945, CBRN had an even more prominent role with the threat of nuclear weapons. The traditional threats have not disappeared, India only needs to think of its near neighbour Pakistan, who if threatened could resort to tactical nuclear weapons.

Modern nation states such as India must prepare against a plethora of threats and eventualities, we only have to look back at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008. The terrorists held up in the Taj Mahal hotel for three days set fire to the building, thus, effectively creating a respiratory barrier to entry for the security forces. Avon’s new generation of CBRN respiratory protection is now being used by customers in a range of threats, from natural disasters (volcanoes in Indonesia where toxic gases are threatening local populations) to man-made disasters such as the one in Fukushima to deliberate acts of terrorism, Anthrax attacks in the US or the use of chemical weapons in Syria to protect hospital workers, and civilians.

Security forces world-wide are now adopting Avon’s new generation of respiratory protection in tackling drug manufacture, organised crime, freeing hostages, anti-piracy and smuggling operations, supressing prison riots and crowd control. The internet phenomena of chemical suicide, or a chemical spill from a road or train tanker, Avon protects the emergency services with its range of products. Modern governments also see as a major threat to their stability pandemics such as Bird flu or the current spread of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Avon’s range of products provides comprehensive protection.

What products do you offer for security forces deployed in non-CBRN environments such as riot control and border patrolling?
Gas masks are widely used by police forces in riot control situations. Avon’s gas masks not only provide the highest level of protection against contamination but are comfortable to wear for longer periods. Avon’s ‘conformal’ (close fitting) filters have lower physiological burden for the wearer and also integrates with PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) which further reduces breathing resistance, and is cooling in hot conditions. Avon has developed a rapid donning police helmet mask system which is now being adopted in Europe. For border security, Avon has the NH15, one time CBRN escape hood, useful when ‘White Power’ incidents are identified or suspected.

 
 
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