Dear Preppers and Survivalists,
|1st Cavalry Division Soldier|
Two weeks ago, I wrote about some considerations for protective masks. These covered several areas such as your family's choices for protective masks, evaluating your family's threat analysis to see "if" you family needs protective masks, and other thoughts.
Needless, to say, a chemical weapons attack is one of many threats where you and your family may need to protect your respiratory system.
As always, the most likely threat is a home or work-place fire spewing toxic chemicals as you and your family evacuate the building.
Needless to say, I'll say it again, the easiest way of dealing with that event is to immediately evacuate your home, place of business, or school, when the fire/smoke alarm sounds the alarm.
But, ... If you can't immediately leave, you may need to purchase a smoke hood to protect yourself from the smoke for 5, 10, 15 minutes as you leave the burning building.
These devices protect you from the toxic chemicals that are produced when a building burns. They have a rudimentary hood to protect your eyes, so you can see as you evacuate the burning building with a filter that protects you throat and lungs from the hot, toxic gases produced by a fire.
Well, like any other product, all smoke hoods aren't created equal. Some only protect for five minutes while others offer twenty minutes of protection. Others require you to 'don' the smoke hood like a protective mask with a complicated elastic head harness while others just slip over your head. Depending on the smoke hood, some have a small viewing port (covered, of course) with clear plastic while others have a clear bag (that's slipped over your head) to protect your eyes.
Oooh, ... Some of the smoke hoods don't filter all of the fire's toxic gases.
Resting on my Laurels
When I did research, for Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead, in my opinion, the best smoke hood was the EVAC-U8 manufactured by Brookdale International Systems, Inc., for several reasons.
First, according to the specs, the filter protects for 20 minutes.
Second, it filters all of the toxic gases, released during a home fire.
Third, the hood is clear, so there is no need to adjust the smoke hood to see, as you evacuate.
Fourth, it has a trainer hood, so you family can ... Practice, Practice, Practice.
Lastly, the EVAC-U8 is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other smoke hoods.
Of course, the company conducted a recall and seems to have gone out of business.
But, ... The criteria remains the same; protect your eyes, give you a large view so you can see to escape, filter all of the fire's gases, easy to use, and, just maybe, have an inexpensive trainer hood.
Another hazard facing your family's respiratory system is dust. Dust from industrial, agricultural, and natural sources. Yes, even; nuclear explosions.
Now, these dust masks can be purchased at your local big box home improvement store, local farm and home, family owned hardware stores, or from business on the internet. Most of these masks will not offer eye protection, however; for most of these dust sources, your family will be able to used widely available eye protection like safety glasses with side shields, goggles, or other safety eye wear.
|Soldiers Wearing Various Types of Dust Masks|
These masks come in various colors and styles. Needless to say, depending on what you're getting prepared for will determine which mask you and your family will need.
So, ... You go to the store and see a N-95 mask. The letter means ...
"N" = Not resistant to oil;
"R" = somewhat resistant to oil
"P" = strongly resistant to oil or oil-proof
While the number means ...
"95" filters 95% of airborne particles
"99" filters 99% of airborne particles
"100" filters 99.97% of airborne particles
As an example, ...
The N-95 mask that you can purchase at the local big-box home improvement store is ...
Not resistant to oil and will filter 95% of airborne particles.
While a P-99 mask that you bought on line will ...
Be oil-proof and filter 99% of airborne particles.
|A German Worker Wearing a Mask with Valve|
Now some of these masks will have valves on the mask's front. The valve helps control moisture build up in the mask.
Of course, there is a proper way to wear the mask. Check the mask's box, instruction insert, or ask a knowledgeable person, like me (in the comments)
Got To Go
I have to go. I'm studying for a job interview.
So, ... Wish me luck ; - )
WebMD - Respiratory System
Consumer Product Safety Commission - Emergency Smoke Hoods Recalled for Risk of Carbon Monoxide Inhalation
Food and Drug Administration - Masks and N95 Respirators
OSHA - Respirator Types
Approved Gas Masks - Gas Mask Buyer's Tips