This is the second half of the blog about air. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.
M17 US military gas mask - A 30 to 40 year old mask to avoid
New M9A1 Gas Mask - a 40 to 50 year old mask to avoid
My Gasmasks - 50 to 60 year old masks to avoid
Russian Gas Mask! - 50 to 60 year old mask to avoid
M95 Gas Mask - Instructional Video - Short Version
The above video is a great infromational video. You can use this video as a reference on how to use other protective masks.
How to evacuate a group of people with one mask and external filters for everyone else.
One person wears the protective mask. Everybody lines up single file behind her. Everyone else puts the screw end of the opened filter in their mouth and holds the filter with one hand.
Their other hand holds on to a long rope, belts hooked together, or sheets torn into strips to make a long rope. Everybody, except the person wearing the protective mask, closes their eyes.
No breathing through the nose. You have to breath, using your mouth, through the filter, so you may want to plug your nose with something that doesn't allow you to breath through your nose. The person wearing the mask leads everyone out of danger.
A variation is to form a single line and hold on to the shoulder or belt of the person in front of you. But, if a person in line dies, that person will release their grip on the person in front of them. Anyone behind the dead person will lose contact with the person wearing the mask.
I would do this only as a very, very, very, very last resort. It sounds scary just typing about this technique.
On January 6th, 2005 two trains collide releasing a toxic cloud of chlorine gas. Nine people died
On July 3rd, 2007, a man climbed into a manure holding pit. Think of it as a very big septic tank that is uncovered. The methane gas, in the pit, displaced the oxygen. The man was overcome by the gas. His wife, two daughters, and another man tried to rescue him. They all also died.
In the winter of 2007-2008, a man was using a gasoline powered concrete saw to cut a hole in a basement floor. He built a plastic sheeting enclosure to reduce the amount of dust in the basement. He was overcome by a build up of carbon monoxide from operating the gas-powered saw. He died.
Some of these deaths could have been averted by using a protective mask with the proper filter or practicing proper enclosed space procedures.
When buying a protective mask, you are going to need to buy the proper filter for your anticipated emergency. If you live near a chlorine gas pipeline, you need to have a filter rated for chlorine gas. If you are planning for a chemical weapons attack by a terrorists or foreign military, you will need a filter rated for the military chemical weapons.
Filter size and duration of protection
Some obsolete masks use a 60 mm opening for their filters. The International standard is now 40 mm. There is an adaptor that reduces the 60 mm opening in the mask to a 40 mm opening for new filters. If your mask requires this adapter, return your mask or replace it with a new mask.
Protective mask filters only last so long once exposed to chemical agents. The size of the filter will determine how long the filter will protect you. Most filters will have a different rated time for different chemicals.
Wrap Around Visor or Individual Eye Lens
When choosing your protective mask, you will need to decide which one to get. Some masks have eye lens, each eye has its own lens to look through, or a visor, a large wraparound lens both eyes see through. I prefer having separate eye lens. Early in their development, protective masks with visors lost the seal around the mask and the visor allowed air to leak in.
Where to Buy
I was amazed when I found out that firefighting supply stores may have protective masks for sell. Instead of the internet, you might be able to use the phonebook and a telephone to find a protective mask near you.
I also learned that the local police/fire departments have protective masks for responding to chemical weapons attacks. If you know a police officer/fire fighter, you might ask them the type and brand their department purchased, and how do they like it.
When I was looking for protective masks for my family, I did an internet search. I read a lot of information about the various types of masks, over the course of a few months. I also ordered a few surplus masks.
One mask was the Israeli German-made civilian protective mask to check it out. I can tell you, there is a difference between a bare bones mask and a more expensive mask.
I finally decided on the M-95 protective mask. The mask has a shelf-life of 20 years. Large eye lens and the ability to mount a filter on either the left or right side for use of a rifle. Uses the common/standard 40 mm filter. Easy to wear for a long time and the ability to verbally communicate.
There is a down side to this mask. The family must practice using the M-95 mask. It is not a escape hood that requires little or no practice to use. A M-95 mask is a military-type protective mask; it has a distinctive look. An escape hood comes in a nondescript package that can be carried in a backpack or large purse.
Remember your threat analysis when choosing your type of mask and filter.
It is getting time to order new masks for my family. I will buy the same type of mask. I will save one of the old masks as a trainer, so my family and I can train putting the mask on and taking the mask off. I will also save the others as backups for unexpected guest that don't have masks or as mask to be stored at likely attack sites.
Additional Equipment and Supplies
If you buy a protective mask, you will need a carrier and spare filters. Remember the filters last only so long when you are in a chemical environment. You might need to change the filter as you evacuate the area. You will aslo need a carrier big enough to hold another filter or two.
I also suggest, as you look for a carrier, to buy a carrier that is easy to open. The quicker you can put your mask on, the better.
Enclosed Space Policies: