Whether you’re looking to add a gas mask to your preparedness kit or you want to have protection from fumes at work, there are plenty of options on the market. But if you’re new to this type of gear, it can be hard to sift through all the options. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a gas mask, including how many filter ports it has, what kind of material the seals are made out of, the level of impact resistance on the face shield, communication needs and head harness style preference.
Some of the earliest mass-produced masks were little more than flannel head and neck coverings connected to canisters filled with chlorine-absorbing chemicals. These primitive masks were effective enough to prevent riot control agents from entering the air supply and killing people, but not very good at protecting against more dangerous chemical weapons like blister agent or venomous agent X (or VX).
Modern masks are able to protect against these more nefarious poison gases thanks to advances in filter technology. They use very fine screens to block out particles, and they are rated by their ability to block specific chemical compounds. The best rated masks are able to filter out 95% of particles that are less than 1 micron in size. They can also block some chemical weapons, such as nerve agents that interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate with muscles including those responsible for breathing.
But the most important consideration when selecting a gas mask is assessing what the threat really is. If you’re anticipating a CBRN threat or a rapid spread of disease, then a gas mask is worth the investment. But if you’re planning on using a gas mask to thwart law enforcement efforts to maintain a riot or a civil disturbance, then shame on you! That’s a crime, and no mask will stop you from getting sprayed with less-lethal munitions or a pair of handcuffs.
Respirators are a great tool to have for emergency situations and should be in every prepper’s toolkit. But there’s a lot of confusion about lingo, what actually works and how to choose the best option. It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-expensive military surplus gear or cheap disposable ones that do almost nothing, so read on for some tips on how to find a mask that fits your needs. gas masks