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Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo Quiz

Identify this item from my keychain:

I'll give you a hint to get you started: It isn't designed to go on keyrings, but they tend to go missing from their intended purpose and end up there. Leave your answers in the comment section below, on twitter, or on facebook. If no one gets it after a while, I'll give another hint.

Guesses so far:

Eric Szymczyk: Fire department elevator key.
OsoupieO: Sterling silver Tiffany's baby pacifier.
Malden Patch: An old drain plug.
Peter Lovasco: Key magnet picker-upper. (Actually, I kinda want one of those now!)
Jane Martin: Toilet flapper chain or very large belly button piercing. (No fair guessing twice)

So far the closest is probably Malden Patch. I promised another clue, so here you go: It's related to firefighting, and most of my good friends have them on their keyrings as well.

Still no luck. I was considering posting more clues, but I think it might have been just a bit too obscure of an item. Answer below.

Answer: It's a dust cover for an EAB (emergency air breathing) manifold, used in shipboard firefighting. In the event of a fire, or any other casualty that makes the air unbreathable, a mask can be donned. The mask has a hose attached that plugs into low pressure air piping that runs through the boat. All you need to do is find your way to the manifold, give the valve a twist to make the dust cover fall out, and plug in. To move around the ship, you take a deep breath, unplug your hose, and move quickly to the next air connection. Hopefully you've remembered where they all are, because if there's no light, or in heavy smoke, it's going to be tough to find. It's the job of the first person to reach each manifold to remove the dust covers from all four outlets, so the next people to show up can quickly plug in and receive air. They also make nifty keychains, and as such, serve as a sort of fraternal symbol. This means they have a tendency to go missing, as well. The photo below shows the whole apparatus, and you can see the dust covers hanging down. Here's a link with more info.

The guy on the left in the photo below is in the process of donning his mask. Each one comes in a bag bundled with a flash hood (to protect your ears) and some light weight firefighting gloves.