The Survivair Opti-Fit CBRN was designed for first responders in tactical, CBRN and riot-control situations. The full facepiece features a clear polycarbonate lens for a full field of vision. Primarily constructed of chemical-resistant butyl rubber and using a five-strap harness, the Opti-Fit CBRN uses a nose cap to reduce lens fogging and offers three-position canister mounting—left, right and front—to enable the sighting of shoulder-mounted weapons. Filter type: Threaded 40mm canister. Filter Applications: Airborne particulates, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and riot-control agents. MSRP: $515
The Avon Protection C50 protective mask is based on the U.S. M50 and shares key technologies with that design. The C50 is an all-purpose air-purifying respirator for countering multiple threat scenarios such as chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological (CBRN) agents as well as toxic industrial chemicals and materials. Additional features of the Avon C50 include an outstanding field of vision and superior user comfort. The innovative design helps optimize the user’s time in the operational area. Filter Type: Riot, CBRN. Filter Applications: CS/CN, CBRN Agents. MSRP: $422
This filter has been uniquely designed to fit into a cotton scarf. Made to filter out wind-carried dust, urban pollution and odors, the Bandit is made for when the dust is literally settling. Though washable, the Bandit is disposable and will last for approximately six months of use. If allergies are a bother, the Bandit can help fight environmental triggers. Filter Type: Disposable DACC charcoal filter. Filter Applications: Coarse particulates, odors. MSRP: $32
First responders, law enforcement and the military don the MSA Millennium CBRN when the situation involves CBRN incidents, civil disturbances and other threats. The Millennium CBRN is made of soft Hycar rubber, so it is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The face piece has a full, clear polyurethane lens that is flexible and offers a wide field of view. Features include a hydration tube, a speaking diaphragm for enhanced communication while wearing the mask and two canister inlet ports. Filter Type: Threaded 40mm, screw-on canister. Filter Applications: Airborne particulates, biohazard, chemical, gas, vapor, smoke, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and riot-control agents. MSRP: $727
You might encounter the Moldex 9000 series in the mining and refinery industries. These reusable, full-face respirators feature a fully scratch-resistant lens, and are made for easy on/off thanks to a ratchet fastening system and stand-away head harness. The Moldex 9000 is lightweight—less than 13 ounces—and metal free. The exclusive overmolded flange-to-lens design helps make the 9000 series an inexpensive yet rugged choice. Filter Type: Bayonet attachment. Filter Applications: Asbestos, lead, cadmium, inorganic arsenic, pharmaceutical, battery, nuclear, welding, metal processing, oil-based particulates. MSRP: $140
Most fire victims are not injured by the flames, but the smoke and gases. If you live or work in a high-rise building, you might also consider the S-Cap Hood. The unit’s high-visibility yellow PVC hood makes sure you get noticed when the environment is clouded with smoke. The lens offers a wide field of view, and it and the hood are heat resistant. The filter is designed for a minimum of 15 minutes of use. The hood requires minimal training and is simple to don in a matter of seconds. Filter Type: Multi-purpose filter. Filter Applications: Carbon monoxide, smoke. MSRP: $290
The cost-effective North 5400 by Honeywell is used extensively by industries ranging from manufacturing to food services. This full-face respirator is configured for dual cartridges and features a polycarbonate lens housed in a soft, pliable, thermoplastic elastomer material with a four-strap harness. The North 5400 series is lightweight and flexible for comfort. Filter Type: Threaded North N Series cartridges and filters. Filter Applications: Particulates, gases, vapors. MSRP: $92
The M2700 Special Ops is a particulate filter with a built-in Ventex valve that allows hot air out faster so you can breath easier and stay cooler. This is your basic particulate mask on steroids. It filters out bits in dirty environments in all temperature ranges and uses a patented Dura-Mesh outer shell and Softspun inner shell for comfort. These units are easy to put on and last longer than the type you can buy at a big box supply store. Plus, these masks will keep the dust out of your lungs when searching through debris in hot, humid and dusty environments. Filter Type: Disposable. Filter Applications: Non-oil-based particulate aerosols. MSRP: $36 (box of 10)
The Sportsta was designed to protect users from high pollution levels and dust. Made from resilient neoprene, the Sportsta protects the face and attaches using hook-and-loop closures for a secure fit. The filter is replaceable, so this mask will last over the long term. Features include a POWA valve system that allows rapid exhalation of heat, water vapor and carbon dioxide and maximizes airflow. Urban commuters, cyclists and motorcyclists use the Sportsta to keep out road dust and other particulate matter. Filter Type: Disposable sub-micron PM1.0 filter. Filter Applications: Sub-micron pollutants, pollen, dust. MSRP: $47
The M-15 features large, triangular eyepieces for optimal vision, a voice meter for improved verbal communication and an upgraded exhalation valve for easier breathing. This is the standard-issue gas mask for the Israeli Defense Forces. Made mostly of silicone rubber, the M-15 uses a five-strap harness. This mask has a 20-year shelf life. Filter Type: Threaded 40mm, screw-on Type 80 canister. Filter Applications: Airborne viruses and bacteria, carbon monoxide, smoke, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear. MSRP: $150
ILC Dover makes gear for NASA, and it puts the same technology into the SCape CO/CBRN 30 Hood. The SCape CO/CBRN features a clear hood with a built-in face piece and a neck seal that works even with long beards and long hair. Once the hood is donned, the battery-operated blower is automati- cally activated and will run for about 30 minutes. An indicator light tells the users the blower is operating. The hood allows wearers to use cell phones and other communication devices without interference. Filter Type: Permanent military-grade canister. Filter Applications: Industrial chemicals, warfare agents, biological particulate threats, carbon monoxide and other toxic fire gases. MSRP: $315
The C420’s PAPR system filters CBRN and other contaminants from ambient air and provides a constant, filtered airflow, which provides a higher safety factor due to positive pressure in the respirator. The cooling effect of this airflow into the respirator re- moves any potential for fogging, increases comfort and reduces pulmonary stress and any claustrophobic feeling. It also helps to conserve strength and mental awareness, extending the operational endurance of its user. Filter Type: CBRN CAP1. Filter Applications: CBRN Agents, Toxic Industrial Chemicals. MSRP: $899
Airborne pollutants, toxic gases and biological agents. Natural and manmade disasters take on a more insidious nature when fumes, vapor or gases present harm. Some of the names are common, like ammonia, chloride, formaldehyde, hydrogen, sulfide and hydrogen cyanide, while others instill fear with the mere mention of their name, including mustard gas, sarin and dioctyl phthalate.
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Protection from these threats can take numerous forms. These include a traditional gas mask, the iconic symbol of the apocalypse, the escape hood and the lowly respirator used by the masses to stifle the spread of influenza and other illnesses.
Here are 12 gas masks, escape hoods and respirators to consider packing in your bug-out or commuter bag.
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- A gas mask forms a seal around the user’s face to seal off the eyes, nose and mouth. It is designed for prolonged use, is reusable and must be sized to the user’s head to work properly.
- Many gas masks are marked CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) and are NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved.
- Gas masks can filter out and protect you from chemical warfare agents such as nerve gas, mustard/blister gas, tear gas and other caustic respiratory agents.
- An escape hood is disposable and designed for one-time use. One size fits all with this type of design, and many escape hoods can be used by adults as well as children.
For More Information:
Survivair Opti-Fit CBRN: honeywellsafety.com; 800-430-5490
Avon C50: avon-protection.com; 888-286-6440
Respro Bandit Scarf: respro.com
MSA Millenium CBRN: us.msasafety.com; 800-672-2222
Moldex 9000: moldex.com; 800-421-0668
MSA S-Cap Hood: us.msasafety.com; 800-672-2222
North 5400: honeywellsafety.com; 800-430-5490)
Moldex M2700N95 Special OPS: moldex.com; 800-421-0668
Respro Sportsta Mask: respro.com
Israeli M-15 Military Gen 11 NBC Gas Mask: interamer.com; 888-299-9750
ILC Dover Scape CO/CBRN 30 Hood: ilcdover.com; 800-631-9567
Avon C420: avon-protection.com; 888-286-6440
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Fall 2015 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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