A NEW device will be used by fire crews if another strange haze appears like it did at Birling Gap in 2017.

A “photo ionisation detector” is being bought for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to use across Sussex following a report into the chemical haze at the Seven Sisters which led to 107 patients people being decontaminated and 136 patients being treated at hospital.

Last year a Defra report found the source of the chemical haze was most likely a ship, a wreck or lost cargo in the Channel.

It stated that at around 5pm on Sunday, August 27, 2017 a visible cloud or haze drifted from the sea at Birling Gap, near Beachy Head.

As it reached the busy beach, people started to complain of burning eyes, sore throats and skin irritation, with some people reporting vomiting.

The Coastguard evacuated about 5km of the beach between Birling Gap and Eastbourne.

A new report by the Sussex Resilience Forum has led to the decision to buy the detector

The forum includes the emergency Services, NHS Public Health England, councils, the Environment Agency and military and other Government representatives.

The report say that “due to the inability to identify the gas which caused the symptoms, it was difficult for medics and emergency services to know what they were dealing with”

It states that on August 27 “there was good early advice from Public Health

England which enabled quick decision making for South East Coast Ambulance”.

Eastbourne District General Hospital provided a quick and well

managed response, the report added.

It said more training will be given and the agencies will agree a memorandum of understanding on decontamination.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service welcomed the decision to fund new equipment which will help detect certain types of gas.