An essential survival tool during biological or chemical warfare, it is critical you understand gas masks. Sometimes called respirators, they are designed to increase your chances of survival in emergency situations. Typically, when a person envisions the gas mask, they have an idea of a rubber face mask with a cartridge on the end. The mask is designed to cover the face to protect the eyes, nose and mouth.
The truth is there is more than one type of mask though. For example, a half mask air purifier is a mask that covers your mouth and nose. It, however, does not protect the eyes from chemicals and bacteria agents. Still, it does serve a purpose in an emergency. A full face gas mask in turn will give you additional protection for the eyes to enhance your safety.
When you need to upgrade the system, you will find a supplier air solution is available. These systems utilize a cartridge and allow the person to inhale air that has been safely filtered. Typically, the filtration takes place with a battery operated canister. The canister utilizes a fan and this allows filtered air to flow through the mask. If there ends up being a leak in the mask, the pressured air allows air to escape without contaminated air from coming in. This makes it a safer solution to consider.
A self-contained breathing apparatus is often the most sought after style. With this, an air tank is on the person’s back with a full face mask being worn. This allows the face mask to be positive pressurized and it delivers the highest amount of protection available.
The Right Filter
When you look at the filter options, it is important to understand there are different levels of protection available. Ideally, you want to have a CBRN filter that provides the maximum amount of protection possible. The filters will protect you from some of the most dangerous types of contaminants around, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear.
When Buying Be Wary of Surplus Dealers
While you will find there are some surplus masks that can be a good deal, many of the surplus suppliers want to unload large numbers of outdated or inferior masks so you have some perceived protection. If you decide to order these models, make sure you pay close attention to the details and check the filter when they arrive. That is the best way to be certain of the safety you and your loved ones have in using the surplus masks.
All Gas Masks are Not Equal
Just because you have a gas mask handed to you doesn’t mean it is one that keeps you safe. You need to know the CBA/RCA and NBC rating of the mask. This ensures you are covered from the full range of concerns and you have a quality design you are able to count on. The unfortunate truth is some manufacturer’s do nothing more than deliver a fancy surgical mask. When applied to the face, it gives the user a false sense of hope. This is why it is important to select from masks that are independently tested off site and the results are published by the third party source.
Know Your Unique Needs
Not all gas masks will allow room for glasses and if you need a prescription to see, you need to be sure you can obtain a tight fit with plenty of room for your glasses. This will mean you need to take some time trying on masks and finding the one that works best for you.
Lose the Facial Hair or Choose a Hood
If you have facial hair, many gas masks won’t work for you. Even not shaving for a few days can interrupt the seal and pose a concern. If you want to have facial hair and you want an effective gas mask to work, it will be important to choose from one of the hooded versions available.
Stock Up on Filters
Filters have a shelf life, so you need to make sure you are rotating them. At the same time, they are designed to be used within a limited time frame. In most cases, it is less than 24 hours. That means you need to be prepared to have enough filters on hand to keep you safer until the actual danger has passed.
Top Gas Mask Brands
You will find there are hundreds of gas mask manufacturers around the world. Knowing each of them isn’t created equally, you need to be sure you are choosing from the best you can afford. Since these manufacturers can vary in price, you may need to look around until you find a unit to meet your needs. Keep in mind anything you essentially do get what you pay for. So the protection of a $50 mask will be very different from a $500 mask. Among the manufacturers to consider are:
- Avon Protection
The price range you can anticipate is anywhere from $50 – $1,000 or more. On the less expensive models, you might not find all the features you need to provide you with adequate protection. At the same time, the most expensive models might have the same features as those in the $350 – $700 level. It is important to consider craftsmanship and the essential features as you look over each of these options to be certain you have a gas mask you can count on.
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