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Escape Respirator Challenge Launched
January 4, 2019

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) launched the Escape Respirator Challenge, a $250,000 prize competition that seeks new concepts for an escape respirator solution. This challenge invites the innovation community to submit relevant, useable, effective, and feasible concepts that protects the user against aerosolized chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) hazards and provides oxygen.

“Through this challenge, we are reaching out to the scientific community for innovative compact design solutions that will eventually help people evacuate from toxic or smoke-filled environments,” said William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “This Challenge will allow S&T the opportunity to equip first responders and others with essential protective gear.”

This call for concepts is the first of a two-phase competition with a total cash prize pool of $250,000. At the conclusion of Phase I, up to three finalists will each receive $50,000 from the cash prize pool to build a functioning prototype according to their submitted proposals. Phase I finalists will then participate in a presentation event during Phase II where they will demonstrate their prototypes to compete for a cash grand prize purse of $100,000.

The overall goal of this challenge is to develop a working prototype for a compact, discreetly carried escape respirator that is capable of being donned rapidly while providing oxygen for safe egress from smoke-filled, oxygen-deficient, and CBR environments. Although commercial solutions exist, they do not have the small form factor, packaging, or weight reduction sought through this challenge.

Those interested in participating in the Escape Respirator Challenge should register no later than Thursday, April 11, 2019, at 5:00 PM Eastern and submit an application no later than Thursday, May 30, 2019, at 5:00 PM Eastern.

For more information about the Escape Respirator Challenge, visit

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