Protection Against Chemical Exposure (PeACE) Kit

Aim

The PeACE Kit is a personal protective kit, to be worn in areas where the threat of chemical warfare is thought to exist. The PeACE kit aims to provide a user with a friendly and convenient way to evacuate and decontaminate a person after potential exposure to a chemical.

Throughout MSF’s history, teams are sometimes confronted with the threat of chemical warfare. This threat presents itself very rarely, and when it does, a great deal of work goes into risk mitigation and contingency plans. One of the contingency plans that exists is a decontamination kit in the form of a backpack, that users carry with them while working in ‘at risk’ areas. These kits are heavy, bulky, and – without repeated training- complicated to use. The backpacks often cause more anxiety than relief, which is the opposite consequence that an item of PPE should produce.

The PeACE kit aims to make a sometimes complicated procedure, as simple and user friendly as possible. The kit is designed to be worn and therefore also always conveniently located. And the kit aims to allow MSF staff to concentrate on their work, rather than worry about a security issue. Careful design and instructions on the inside, mean that the training to use the kit can be largely self taught and refreshed whenever is convenient.

To improve efficiency detailed lean analysis of the processes has been carried out, using techniques often used in the automotive industry. A great deal of work has been done behind the scenes to ensure that the process the kit is based on is as efficient as possible, and still in line with standard operating procedures.

The kit has attracted a broad range of experts for collaboration including: a London based fashion designer, a graphics designer, a world leading toxicologist, a process engineer and European design consultancies. We are looking to collaborate with companies experienced in user testing and PPE in this area, so that we can provide a high level product to MSF for when they think might need it.

Status

INITIATION
The first phase of the project - funded by the Sapling Nursery Fund in London – resulted in a successful proof of concept prototype. The prototype gave the wider MSF community the chance to not only see a feasible solution, but to also gain a better understanding of what it must be like in the field with the current setup.
 

DEVELOPMENT
Phase 2 is about refining and optimising the kit, as well as planning for sustainable and cost effective production. With the use of the first prototype, stakeholders inside outside MSF can engage and collaborate. The key to this phase is to make sure we’re solving the right problem in the right way, and have the right team around us, in order to create a high quality solution on time and on budget.
 

IMPLEMENTATION
The final phase of this project brings us back to lean practices and continual improvement. When we have a manufactured product that is appropriate to the projects we currently work in and the current threats, we will review how effective the kits are, and how they could also be relevant to other sections or situations.

Resources

Sci Dev Net, ‘Aid worker invents vest with built-in chemicals protection’

Stakeholders

Operational Centre Amsterdam (OCA), Case Owner
MSF Sweden Innovation Unit, Case Manager

Funding

MSF sapling Nursery Fund
Swedish Innovation Unit

Contact

Roger Morton, Case Manager, MSF Sweden Innovation Unit