EEBD: Emergency Escape Breathing Device Guide

EEBD, also called Emergency Escape Breathing Device is a self-contained breathing apparatus used only for the purpose of escape from a hazardous environment such as fire, Smoke, or hazardous gases.

Please note that EEBD on the ship shall not be used for fire-fighting; it has been made only to get you out from the place where the air is not suitable for human breathing.

Emergency Escape Breathing Device EEBD

A few examples are Smoke in accommodation or engine room, H2s gas released on deck, and Enclosed spaces.

EEBD Meaning

EEBD meaning is Emergency Escape Breathing Device, also known as ELSA is used to escape from the hazardous zone and in an event of emergency such as smoke in engine room or accommodation and from enclosed spaces.

EEBD Duration as Per Solas

  • As per Solas the EEBD (Emergency escape breathing device) minimum duration should be 10 minutes.

Difference Between SCBA and EEBD

  • SCBA is Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, which is used for Firefighting and Enclosed space rescue, it is manufactured as per the standard guidelines laid down by the organization which you can find in Solas and FSS code.
  • EEBD is approved only for the evacuation purpose from hazardous area.
  • Minimum required duration for SCBA is 30 min whereas for EEBD duration as per Solas is 10 minutes.

Few Seafarers also ask the difference between ELSA and EEBD:

  • ELSA and EEBD are same only in some part of the world they call EEBD as ELSA.
  • Full form for ELSA is Emergency Life Support Apparatus
  • Full form for EEBD is Emergency Escape Breathing Device


EEBD ( Emergency Escape Breathing Device ) requirements as per Solas are mentioned in Chapter II – 2, Part D – Escape, Regulation 13 – Means of Escape.

  • 3.4 Emergency escape breathing devices*
  • 3.4.1 Emergency escape breathing devices shall comply with the Fire Safety Systems Code. Spare emergency escape breathing devices shall be kept onboard.
  • 3.4.2 All ships shall carry at least two emergency escape breathing devices within accommodation spaces.
  • 3.4.3 In passenger ships, at least two emergency escape breathing devices shall be carried in each main vertical zone.
  • 3.4.4 In passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers, two emergency escape breathing devices, in addition to those required in paragraph 3.4.3 above, shall be carried in each main vertical zone.
  • 3.4.5 However, paragraphs 3.4.3 and 3.4.4 do not apply to stairway enclosures which constitute individual main vertical zones and for the main vertical zones in the fore or aft end of a ship which do not contain spaces of categories (6), (7), (8) or (12) defined in regulation
  • 4.3 Emergency escape breathing devices
  • 4.3.1 On all ships, within the machinery spaces, emergency escape breathing devices shall be situated ready for use at easily visible places, which can be reached quickly and easily at any time in the event of fire. The location of emergency escape breathing devices shall take into account the layout of the machinery space and the number of persons normally working in the spaces*
  • 4.3.2 The number and location of these devices shall be indicated in the fire control plan required in regulation 15.2.4.
  • 4.3.3 Emergency escape breathing devices shall comply with the Fire Safety Systems Code
  • Regulation 15
  • 2.2.2 Training in the use of the emergency escape breathing devices shall be considered as part of on-board training.

* Refer to the Guidelines for the performance, location, use and care of emergency escape breathing devices (MSC/ Circ.849).

Also, you need to ensure that you are following Emergency Escape Breathing Device Solas regulations and your flag state requirements, which might differ from SOLAS.

You can always refer to the page by Class NK; it has all the requirements for EEBD as per flag state requirements.

Let’s have a look at FSS code, as Reg 13 / 3.4.1 says, Emergency escape breathing devices shall comply with the Fire Safety Systems Code.

FSS Code / Chapter 3 – Personnel Protection

  • 2.2 – Emergency escape breathing devices (EEBD)
  • 2.2.1 – General
  • – An EEBD is a supplied air or oxygen device only used for escape from a compartment that has a
  • hazardous atmosphere and shall be of an approved type.
  • – EEBD shall not be used for fighting fires, entering oxygen deficient voids or tanks, or worn by firefighters. In these events, a self-contained breathing apparatus, which is specifically suited for such applications, shall be used.
  • 2.2.2Definitions
  • – Face piece means a face covering that is designed to form a complete seal around the eyes, nose and mouth which is secured in position by a suitable means.
  • – Hood means a head covering which completely covers the head, neck and may cover portions of the shoulders.
  • – Hazardous atmosphere means any atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • 2.2.3 – Particulars
  • – The EEBD shall have a service duration of at least 10 min.
  • – The EEBD shall include a hood or full-face piece, as appropriate, to protect the eyes, nose and mouth during escape. Hoods and face pieces shall be constructed of flame-resistant materials and include a clear window for viewing.
  • – An inactivated EEBD shall be capable of being carried hands-free.
  • – An EEBD, when stored, shall be suitably protected from the environment.
  • – Brief instructions or diagrams clearly illustrating their use shall be clearly printed on the EEBD. The donning procedures shall be quick and easy to allow for situations where there is little time to seek safety from a hazardous atmosphere.
  • 2.2.4 – Markings
    Maintenance requirements, manufacturer’s trademark and serial number, shelf life with accompanying manufacture date and name of the approving authority shall be printed on each EEBD. All EEBD training units shall be clearly marked.
Details of EEBD Service time is given in MSC.1/Circ.1432

EEBD Inspection Requirements can be found in your PMS, which is made by considering Solas, Flag State, and your company requirements. We generally follow MSC.1/Circ.1432 if no Flag State or company special requirements exist.

Weekly Inspection:

4.5 Breathing apparatus

Examine all breathing apparatus and EEBD cylinder gauges to confirm they are in the correct pressure range.

EEBD Annual Inspection Requirements / Service:

7.8 Breathing apparatus

.1 check breathing apparatus air recharging systems, if fitted, for air quality.
.2 check all breathing apparatus face masks and air demand valves are in
serviceable condition; and
.3 check EEBDs according to maker’s instructions.

Five-year service:

9.4 Breathing apparatus

Perform hydrostatic testing of all steel self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders. Aluminum and composite cylinders should be tested to the satisfaction of the Administration.

Para 9.4 States EEBD Hydrostatic Test Interval duration of 5 years, but some EEBD manufacturers recommend a Hydro test every THREE years. This information you will get from the EEBD booklet. One such example is Fangzhan EEBD.

How Long does EEBD Last

As per Solas, the minimum duration shall be 10 minutes, but nowadays, manufacturers are making EEBD with a time duration of 15 minutes. Having said that, when I did the last EEBD annuals onboard ship and tested one of the Fangzhan EEBD for time duration it lasted for around 23 minutes but as per Fangzhan it was certified for 15 minutes.

Before we finish this post, here is one of the MAIB reports on EEBD you should discuss with your crew members onboard ship:

MAIB Report 12/2008 ERRV Viking Islay
Amethyst gas field, 25 miles off the East Yorkshire coast, UK 23 September 2007 Synopsis [page 9]

“On 29 September 2007, three seamen on board the ERRV Viking Islay lost their lives as a consequence of entering an enclosed space. The ERRV Viking Islay was working in the North Sea conducting rig support operations when two of the vessel’s seamen went forward with the intention of securing a rattling anchor chain within the chain locker. One of the seamen entered the chain locker and collapsed. It is probable that the other seaman, realizing that help was urgently required, raised the alarm with the duty watchkeeping rating on the bridge before he, too, entered the chain locker in an attempt to help his companion. He also collapsed.

During the consequent rescue efforts, the first rescuer found he was unable to enter the chain locker wearing a BA, and he therefore donned an EEBD. He entered the space, but at some point, the hood of the EEBD was removed, or became dislodged and this rating also collapsed.

All three seamen died as a result of an oxygen deficient atmosphere within the chain locker.”

EEBD (Emergency Escape Breathing Device) is critical safety equipment onboard the ship. The responsible officer shall ensure that the test and checks are regularly carried out per Solas, Company, and Flag State requirements.