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Gas Mask Buyer’s Guide

In this post, you’re going to get all the info you need on purchasing the right gas mask for your requirements. Whether for professional or personal use, we give you the rundown on what to look for in a gas mask and which gas masks are the best.

Full-face gas masks are intricate devices that are designed to save lives in dangerous situations. As a manufacturer of these devices, we know just how much goes into designing, developing, and manufacturing a gas mask that will withstand the very worst conditions.

Knowing which gas mask to choose will depend on the use. It doesn’t matter whether you are in industry, a first responder, law enforcement, military, or simply a person who feels it’s important to be prepared for civil defense situations.You need to do your research when it comes to choosing the right gas mask.

There are different dangers that different gas masks protect against. For example, your team may need state-of-the-art biohazard gas masks, chemical gas masks, nuclear gas masks, or masks that protect against all of the above. Military users may want a gas mask that offers a good tactical advantage.

Let’s start with a brief history of the gas mask.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • 01

    The History of the Gas Mask

  • 02

    Why Do You Need a Gas Mask?

  • 03

    Types of Respirators

  • 04

    Types of Filters

  • 05

    Rating System

  • 06

    Legal Implications

  • 07

    Top Gas Mask Options

  • 08

    Obsolete Gas Masks

  • 09

    How to Make Sure Your Gas Mask Fits

  • 10

    Gas Mask Tips

  • 11

    Gas Mask FAQs

The History of the Gas Mask

The earliest known gas mask was created in Iraq in the 9th century to protect people working in polluted wells. In the 17th century, plague doctors wore a bird-shaped mask filled with herbs to protect them from getting sick.

However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the first respirator was invented by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier. Primitive respirators were often used by miners in thelate 1700s.

By the middle of the 19th century, the gas mask construction we are now all familiar with was patented. It was designed to filter dust from the air inhaled by the wearer. In 1914, Garrett Morgan invented a respirator that used a hood and hoses that hung to the ground to protect against smoke inhalation.

Later this mask had its own air supply added, and soon later, in 1915, Nikolay Zelinsky invented the first gas mask to use activated charcoal to filter out toxic gases, and help with the war effort with the introduction of chemical warfare agents to the battlefield.

In 1943, a more modern gas mask was developed by the British Army. This mask was lighter, less bulky, and fitted to the face better than those used in World War I. It allowed the use of a separate filter canister that could be replaced. It also allowed for protection against the new threats of nuclear and biological warfare contaminants. This became the standard during World War II.

Why Do You Need a Gas Mask?

You need to know what you will need a gas mask for in order to choose the right one. If you are a professional in law enforcement, military, a first responder, or in industry, chances are you have a pretty good idea of what you need.

If you are an individual looking to prepare for the worst, you need to think carefully about what you want to protect yourself from. Is your biggest concern a pandemic for which you only need a P100 level of filtration, or are you also looking to prep for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) threats, which would require something more advanced?

Many preppers with a knack for civil defense gear up for the possibility of a dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is designed with a mix of explosive material and radioactive material. This will spread radioactive particles throughout the immediate area, contaminating the air people breathe. When it comes to a dirty bomb, civilians, law enforcement, first responders, and the military will all benefit from having CBRN-rated personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fortunately, there are gas masks out there that can protect an individual from a myriad of threats. For general preparedness, you should look for masks that can protect from CBRN contaminants:

Chemical

Toxic chemicals, gases, and nerve agents

Biological

All microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi

Radiological

Radioactive particles dispersed by a dirty bomb

Nuclear

Radioactive fallout from a nuclear device, weapon, or reactor

When it comes to protecting you against these contaminants, it’s not the mask itself that will protect you. Instead, it is the combination of the mask and the filter you use. Let’s take a look at both respirators and filters.

Types of Respirators

Respirators are used to make sure you have clean air to breathe. The two main categories of respirators are:

Air-purifying respirators (APR)

These use filters to clean contaminants from the air.

Examples
  • Escape respirators – Designed for short-term use to escape a dangerous area, this respirator will last only 15 minutes to an hour.

  • Particulate respirators – This is the most inexpensive respirator you can buy. It is a simple mask (like a surgical mask) that is designed to protect against airborne particles ONLY. This includes infectious agents, for which you need a P-100 rating on your mask. It does not protect against chemicals, vapors, or gases.

  • Full-face gas mask respirator – This is an APR that uses a filter cartridge to cleanse the air of particulates and chemical gases and vapors from the air. It relies on a mask that covers the entire face and a cartridge with a filter that filters the air as the wearer inhales. This gas mask respirator is the focus of this guide.

  • Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) – This respirator is essentially a regular gas mask that uses a fan to blow air through the filter. This makes it easier to breathe.

The MSA M7 FIREHAWK SCBA System

Atmosphere-supplying respirators

These supply uncontaminated air from a separate source.

Examples
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) – This is a respirator that comes with its own supply of compressed clean air. This gets rid of the need for filters. This device is similar to a scuba tank and is typically used by professionals where the type of gas and concentration is unknown to the wearer.

  • Air-supplied – This uses an airline hose to provide air from a clean source. This is typically used in situations where workers need to be in a dangerous area for an extended period of time

You can also choose between tight-fitting and loose-fitting respirators. A tight-fitting respirator consists of a mask with a rubber barrier that creates a seal with the face and neck. This is the foundation of the gas mask. A loose-fitting respirator does not rely on a tight seal. Instead, it comes in the form of a hood that is worn over the head and neck.

Types of Filters

A gas mask will only be as effective as the filter it’s used with. There are a lot of different types of filters to choose from, and what you choose will depend on the level of protection you’re seeking.

Some filters come color-coded, so it’s easy to find the type of filter you want. Here is the basic color coding scheme:

Color Mask type Application Class Gas Concentration Standard
P3 Particles 1
2
3
low efficiency
medium efficiency
high efficiency
EN143
A Organic gases & Vapours-boiling point > 65°C 1
2
3
1000 ML/M3
5000 ML/M3
10000 ML/M3
EN405
Disposable
EN14387
A Organic gases & Vapours-boiling point > 65°C 1
2
3
1000 ML/M3
5000 ML/M3
10000 ML/M3
EN14387
B Inorganic gases and Vapours (not CO), i.e chlorine, H2S, HCN,… 1
2
3
1000 ML/M3
5000 ML/M3
10000 ML/M3
EN14387
EA Acid gases 1
2
3
1000 ML/M3
5000 ML/M3
10000 ML/M3
EN14387
K Ammonia and organic derivatives 1
2
3
1000 ML/M3
5000 ML/M3
10000 ML/M3
EN14387
AX Certain organic compounds with boiling point <65°C - of low boiling substances groups 1&2 gr.1: 100ml/m3 max 40'
gr.1: 100ml/m3 max 20'
gr.2: 1000ml/m3 max 60'
gr.2 5000 ml/m3 max 20'
EN371
NO (+P3) Nitrogen oxides e.g NO, NO2, Nox Maximum allowed time of use: 20min EN141
Hg (+P3) Mercury vapours Maximum allowed time of use: 50 hrs EN141
CO*C Carbon monoxide Local guidelines DIN 3181*
Reactor P3 Radioactive iodine Local guidelines DIN 3181*

Other filters will not have these individual colors, but will instead be a solid color like olive, indicating that they are made as “multigas” filters.

Keep in mind that along with the respirator and filter type, there are ratings systems that gas mask manufacturers must comply with for their gas mask/filter combos to be approved for certain dangerous situations.

Gas Mask Rating System

Ratings systems are set up by government agencies to ensure that manufacturers maintain standards for their gas masks and other respirators. The primary ratings that you need to be aware of are as follows:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Sets the standards for approved gas masks for professionals in the U.S. NIOSH has a set of standards for protection against CBRN agents, along with other contaminants you may encounter in the field. The approval rating for gas masks applies to the combination of mask and filter.

There are many jobs for which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires NIOSH approval. If you do not wear your NIOSH-approved PPE, insurance coverage may not apply if you are injured or become ill as a result.

CE

All products in the European Economic Area (EEA), including PPE and respirators must be marked with the symbol CE, which stands for Conformité Européenne, or European Conformity. This is a mark that the manufacturer uses to show that its product meets all the health, safety, and environmental protection requirements as set out by the EEA.

EN 136:1998
When it comes to PPE, the European Standard (EN) for full-face gas masks is EN 136:1998. If a mask is marked with this, it indicates that the mask meets the requirements to be used as part of a respiratory protective device in negative pressure systems.

Keep in mind, there are other standards set out by governments around the world for certifying full-face respirators. Having or not having a certain certification doesn’t determine the quality or usefulness of a respirator, but only shows that this usefulness has been proven with independent testing by a trusted third party.

Legal Implications

There are controls on respirators made in the U.S. that are shipped to other countries. Specifically, Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) may apply to the export of gas masks.

EAR is concerned with the control of the export of products that have commercial and other potential applications(dual-use items).

The U.S government has established safeguards to prevent gas masks from being shipped to destinations where they could be used to counter the efforts of its military.

ITAR is concerned with the regulation of defense products and operates under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). If a specific gas mask is listed under the ITAR United States Munitions List (USML), you have to apply for a license before you send it out of the country.

At this time, it appears that the only masks listed under the USML are those made by Avon Protection (including the M50 and C50), but that could change over time.

The point is, if you’re planning on sending your family or friends gas masks overseas, make sure that you can do so legally, as penalties for not complying with these laws can be severe.

If a gas mask isn’t made in the U.S. and comes into the U.S. temporarily for re-export, then it is not controlled by ITAR. Export of PPE is, however, regulated by EAR, and falls under classification code 1A004.

When looking at the reason for control, the Commerce Control List states that it’s for national security, specifically NS2 under the country chart.

Once you look at the country chart, look at column NS2, and you’ll be able to see which countries you’re allowed to ship products to, and which countries you’re not.

To make sure you’re complying, contact the U.S State Department (administrator for ITAR) and the U.S Department of Commerce (administrator for EAR) to let them know what you’re planning on shipping, and where.

That way, if you are ever investigated, you will have a paper trail showing that you made an effort to contact those in charge on how to proceed.

Now that you have all this information on gas masks, let’s take a look at the types of masks that are available. This will help you decide what is right for you and your family.

Gas Mask Buyers Guide

To recap, remember that gas masks are not simple respirators that are only designed to protect from particulates in the air. A gas mask is a full-face mask that, when using the proper filter, will protect against vapors, gases, and particles.

Gas masks are rated based on the threat they are designed to protect the wearer from. The ratings are as follows:

  • CBRN

  • Chemical Blowing and Riot Control Agents

  • Specialty Ratings – designed to protect the wearer from specific HAZMAT or CBRN threats

For civil preparedness purposes, you should choose a CBRN mask. When researching, you should look at the following set of features:

  • Certifications

  • Presence of a speech diaphragm

  • Hydration system compatibility

  • Compatibility with optics

  • Whether the rubber is resistant to chemical warfare agents

  • Whether there are government and law enforcement agencies currently using the mask. This is an extra indicator of quality

With this in mind, there are many popular mask designs to choose from. What you choose will depend on personal comfort, the fit of the mask, your budget, and the considerations listed above.

Now, we know full well what gas masks we think are the best – our own! Our MIRA Safety gas masks will stand up against the competition every single time (shameless plug).

Having said that, we want to make sure that you make an informed decision. So, here is a list of the most popular masks:

MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask

The MIRA Safety CM-6M gas mask protects the wearer’s airways, eyes, and face from toxic chemicals, gases, vapors, and radioactive dust. The face plate is hypoallergenic and wide, offering panoramic viewing. It also prevents fogging, even in the toughest conditions. The mask fits 40mm 1/7” NATO filter cartridges and is manufactured according to the EN 136:1998 standard, class III. The mask is backed by MIRA Safety’s 5-year manufacturer warranty.

$219.98

  • EN 136:1998 CI. 3 certification

  • Panoramic visor

  • Inner mask prevents fogging even under harsh conditions

  • Fits two standard filter cartridges, makes breathing easier, and increases time between filter changes

  • Compatible with a variety of filters for various levels of protection

  • Can be used by industry, agriculture, law enforcement, fire departments, military, or for civil defense purposes

  • Comes with hydration system and canteen

  • Compatible with CamelBak bladders

  • Comes with a speech diaphragm

  • Shelf life of 20 years

This mask is used professionally across the globe by law enforcement, HAZMAT crews, and is made of CWA-resistant rubber. The CM-6M is feature-rich and comes in at a much lower price than competitive offerings.

MIRA Safety CM-7M Gas Mask

The MIRA Safety CM-7M gas mask is similar to the CM-6M, but is designed for military use. It protects the wearer’s airways, eyes, and face from toxic chemicals, gases, vapors, and radioactive dust, while allowing for good optics when in combat to provide a tactical advantage. The mask is used by the Czech military.

$229.95

  • EN 136:1998 CI. 3 certification

  • Comfortable and wearable for long periods of time

  • Low breathing resistance

  • Compatible with a wide variety of military optical instruments

  • Eyepieces resistant to scratches and impact

  • Includes hydration system

  • Comes with speech diaphragm

  • Easy decontamination

  • Recessed visor options for use with rifles

  • Effective within a temperature range of -30°C to 70°C

If you’re looking for a CBRN gas mask that’s compatible with a variety of optics, go with the CM-7M. Most masks on the market will not allow you to get close enough to the stock to sight in on your target, or get close enough to a magnified scope to make it usable.

Dräger CDR 4500 Gas Mask

The Dräger CDR 4500 gas mask is specifically designed to offer protection against chemical warfare agents. With full-face protection, this mask offers a wide viewing angle, and it is designed for use in civil defense and disaster protection.

Over $300

  • NIOSH CBRN approved with Cap1 canister

  • EN 136:1998 CI. 3

  • Comfortable and lightweight

  • One RD40 (40mm) filter port

  • Durable, tamper-resistant filter canister

  • Seal stays intact over time and with perspiration

  • Well-written user manual

  • Made of chemical resistant EPDM rubber

  • Does not come with a drinking system or speech diaphragm

If you wear CBRN PPE as part of your job in the U.S., OSHA requirements mandate that your gas mask have NIOSH approval. The CDR 4500 is one of the more affordable NIOSH CBRN masks on the market.

Drager X-Plore 6300 Gas Mask

The Dräger X-Plore 6300 gas mask is structurally identical to the Drager CDR 4500 and was designed to be used by industry professionals. It suits a wide range of applications in the workplace and is reliable and comfortable. With a double faceplate and a triple seal, this mask will fit most face shapes.

Around $200

  • Standard non-CBRN NIOSH rating for use with a number of gases, particulates, and chemical agents with the Drager RD40 filter

  • Almost identical to the CDR 4500, minus a few color changes, and different coating on visor

  • One filter port

  • Comfortable, one-size-fits-all

  • Lightweight

  • Wide plexiglass faceplate for panoramic visibility

  • Fog-free ventilation

  • Made of chemical resistant EPDM rubber

  • Does not come with a drinking system or speech diaphragm

This mask is almost identical to the CDR 4500, but comes in at half the price. With the 4500, you’re essentially paying for scratch-resistant rubber and NIOSH CBRN certification as opposed to standard NIOSH. Once again, if your job mandates NIOSH, then this is a great option for a basic mask.

Dräger DHS 7000 Gas Mask

The Dräger DHS 7000 gas mask is ideal for any environment. It can be used by military, law enforcement, and industry, offering cylinder quick disconnect and comfortable wear.

Around $800

  • NIOSH CBRN approved

  • Approved by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

  • Three configurations available – APR, PAPR, and SCBA

  • Electronic voice communications

  • Quick cylinder changes

  • Comes with hydration system and canteen

  • Compatible with CamelBak bladders

Think of the DHS 7000 as a CDR 4500 on steroids. The overall design is similar, but the DHS has every feature imaginable. The biggest drawback of this mask is the price tag, and it’s very difficult to find in new condition.

Dräger FPS 7000 Gas Mask

The Dräger FPS 7000 gas mask is designed to be used with SCBA full-chemical protective suits, ensuring protection in extreme situations, including thick smoke. It allows for hands-free, wireless communication between all wearers and the incident commander.

Over $500

  • EN 136 CL2 approved

  • Hands-free communication with voice-amplified radio and integrated speakers

  • Software that can be customized to specific operations

  • Strong and resistant to high temperatures

  • Primarily used by fire rescue squads

  • Battery status warnings

  • Easy to clean

  • Comfortable to wear

  • Good field of view

  • Easy to disconnect quickly

This mask is primarily used by firefighters as it’s only compatible with SCBA systems.

Mestel SGE 150 Gas Mask

The Mestel SGE 150 gas mask is an escape mask that is designed to help the wearer safely get out of situations such as riots. With a large visor and comfortable fit, it’s a good mask to have on hand. This mask was created by Ocean Reef, and is essentially a modified diving mask as it’s based on their diving products. This mask is popular for civil preparedness, but is rarely used by professionals.

 Around $120

  • EN 136:1998 CL3 certification

  • Good for tear gas and pepper spray

  • Design comes from Ocean Reefs line of diving masks

  • Excellent visibility

  • Heat-resistant up to 200°C for 6 minutes (800°C for 5 seconds)

  • Lightweight

  • Impact-resistant visor

  • Not intended for CBRN applications

  • Does not come with a drinking system or speech diaphragm

The SGE 150 is very popular among preppers, but is not designed for CBRN applications. Considering its rigid, full-face construction, this is a great mask for riot control applications, but the centrally located filter port makes it unusable with rifles.

Mestel SGE 400/3 and 400/3 BB

The Mestel SGE 400/3 and 400/3 BB are very similar to the SGE 150, except with three filter ports instead one. The 400/3 series of masks are also compatible with a few non-standard accessories, such as a speech diaphragm and drinking system. The main difference between the BB and non-BB version is the use of butyl rubber for the face seal, which has been shown to withstand mustard gas.

$200-$500, depending on features

  • EN 136:1998 CL3 certification

  • Three filter ports

  • Speaking diaphragm available

  • Microphone connection available

  • Hydration system with canteen available

  • Fully loaded mask with speech diaphragm, drinking system, canteen, elastic head harness, etc. costs anywhere from $450 to $500.

These are similarly designed to the SGE 150, but they come with three filter ports instead of one and are compatible with several accessories. With the speech diaphragm, drinking system, canteen, drinking tube, and textile strap, you’re looking at a $450+ mask. The BB model is the only one in the lineup that adheres to CBRN requirements with a butyl rubber seal.

Avon M50 Gas Mask

The Avon M50 gas mask is a military-grade gas mask that is currently used by the U.S. military. It is high-quality, comfortable, and extremely effective during field operations. The mask is excellent for nuclear fallout. It also has a straw assembly to attach to a water bottle, in addition to other optional accessories such as a vision lens mount for prescription lenses. This mask is very difficult to find in new condition, and most on the market are expired or surplus, as they are only available to government institutions.

Around $500. Hard to find in new, recently manufactured condition.

  • NIOSH CBRN approved

  • Wide field of vision

  • Single lens doesn’t distort vision

  • Easy to use with pistol and rifle

  • Hydration system with canteen

  • Compatible with CamelBaks

  • Front-mounted communication valve with electronic communication option

  • ITAR restricted, so it’s only available for sale in the U.S., even if it’s surplus

  • Uses proprietary filter cartridges that are not compatible with standard 40mm NATO threading

Fantastic mask that’s used globally for military operations. The biggest drawback is that Avon only sells this mask to military organizations, so if you find one on eBay or Amazon, it’s likely defective, surplus, or “missing” goods. Also, considering that the M50 uses proprietary filters, you’re stuck with having to use Avon filters as opposed to the hundreds of 40mm filters available on the market.

Avon FM12 Gas Mask

The Avon FM12 gas mask was developed for NATO operations. This NATO gas mask is ideal for both civilian and military use. It is widely used in law enforcement and security, and it is standard issue in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and for police in England, Singapore, and Chicago. This mask is easy to fit, comfortable, and good in emergency situations. It is still in production. However, it is very difficult to find in new condition, as most on the market are surplus or expired. This mask is typically only available for official personnel, not average citizens.

Around $100 for used. Hard to find in new condition.

  • NIOSH CBRN approved

  • Comfortable and easy to put on/take off

  • Hydration system

  • Two side-mount filter ports for tactical operations

  • Speech diaphragm

  • Secondary speech transmitter (SST), allowing it to connect with communications systems

  • ITAR controlled and can not be shipped outside the U.S.

  • Uses a 40 mm NATO CBRN filter, which is easy to find

This mask was developed before the M50, and is still used by government agencies worldwide for CBRN protection. The only major drawback is the one that is also faced by the M50 – almost all options available online are surplus masks. No matter how good the rubber is, all rubber degrades over time. There’s a reason why military agencies take expiration dates very seriously.

3M FR-7800B Gas Mask

The 3M FR-7800B gas mask is designed for use by first responders, but can also be used by the military, security, and HAZMAT teams. The mask offers protection from particulates, chemicals, and chemical warfare agents, including mustard and sarin gases.

Around $350

  • NIOSH CBRN approved

  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Protected exhalation valve

  • Wide rage of vision with no distortion

  • Multiple sizes available

  • Side mount cartridge (can be mounted on either side)

  • Low breathing resistance

  • Speech diaphragm

This mask was designed for first responders responding to CBRN incidents, so it lacks a few features which would make it practical for tactical applications. Considering that it comes in three different sizes, this mask would work well for people with smaller or larger than average faces.

Obsolete Gas Masks

There are also a lot of gas masks on the market that are less expensive. Unfortunately, a lot, if not all, of these masks are NOT safe. In fact, a good 99% of them are surplus, which means they are very likely expired gas masks that won’t give you the protection you need. Here is a list of masks to avoid:

Israeli Civilian Mask – These masks are easy to find in surplus stores, and they are cheap, which means they are most likely outdated and won’t protect you when you need it. This is despite the fact that the general populace in Israel uses this mask in emergencies. On top of this, the mask offers poor visibility, making it a no-go when it comes to military or law enforcement operations.

Israeli Military M15 Mask – Similar to the 4A1 Israeli Civilian mask, but this mask has better visibility and will protect against select warfare agents. However, it is generally only sold as surplus, particularly in the U.S., which means it is likely outdated and useless.

Cheap Chinese gas masks – These masks are easy to identify because the instructions for use are either in broken English or Chinese. They are made from cheap materials and are generally rated only by Chinese oversight institutions. In addition, replacement filters are very hard to find. These masks are typically found on AliExpress, Alibaba, or white labeled by various sellers on Amazon.

M17 Gas Mask – An outdated gas mask that was once used by the U.S. Armed Forces, notably in the Vietnam War, but was later replaced by updated models. While overall a useful mask that provided CBRN protection, the mask had to be removed to change the filters.

Czech M-10-M Protective Mask – This is an outdated mask that is not at all useful for CBRN protection. The design was inspired by the M17.

GP-5 Gas Mask – This is a Russian gas mask that is completely outdated. Production ended in 1990, so if you find one, you can be sure it’s of no use.

Canadian C-3 Protective Mask – This mask was made from 1960-1982, and is the predecessor to the Canadian C-4 mask. Although it’s been out of production for over 30 years, it is still available on military surplus websites and eBay. This mask uses 60mm threaded filters which are very difficult to find in new condition.

Canadian C-4 Protective Mask – This gas mask is currently used by the Canadian Armed Forces. There were adhesive issues with the original black masks, so if used, you should only use the green or tan masks. The filter can be mounted on the right or left, which is a tactical advantage, but with two separate eyepieces, rather than a single faceplate, the field of vision could be better.

Serbian M1 Gas Mask – This was inspired by the old M9 American gas mask, and it was used by the Iraq army in the Gulf War. If you find this in the U.S, it is surplus and can’t be trusted. In addition, there may be chromium in the filter.
At this point, you should have a good idea of the type of gas mask and filters you need. You might even have your mask in hand. Now, let’s get into some additional information you should know about gas masks.

How to Make Sure Your Gas Mask Fits

Now you know the type of gas mask and filter you need. That’s great. However, your gas mask will do you no good at all if it doesn’t fit properly. The gas mask must make a vacuum seal with your face. It must be the proper size and a good fit for the shape of your face.

Medium-sized masks are a good choice for many people, but it’s not guaranteed. You must try the mask on to be sure. Here’s how you do that:

  • 1

    Make sure the straps are completely loosened and pulled to the front of the mask, where they won’t get in your way.

  • 2

    Place your chin in the chin cup and roll the mask onto your face from the chin up. Make sure your nose is in the nose cup.

  • 3

    Holding the mask in place, pull the straps into place on the back of your head.

  • 4

    Tighten each strap securely, in order: middle strap, then top straps, then bottom straps.

  • 5

    Cover the filters with your hands and inhale deeply and quickly to test the seal. You should feel the mask tighten around your face a little and no air should get into the mask. If this doesn’t happen, then repeat steps 1-4.

Gas Mask Tips

First of all, please keep in mind that if you don’t wear filters in your mask, you may as well not be wearing the mask at all. The filters are what truly protect you. In addition to that, here are a few tips that might help you when choosing a gas mask:

  • Practice putting the mask on (donning) and taking it off (doffing). Be sure that you have the process down before you are in an emergency.

  • You can never have too many filters. Be sure to have a selection of them based on the various scenarios you are preparing for.

  • Always remove your mask by loosening the bottom strap and pulling the chin cup up and over your head.

  • If you think you might need it soon, store the mask with the straps over the front so it’s easy to put on quickly. Otherwise, store the mask with the straps tucked into the mask so they won’t stretch.

Gas Mask FAQs

Here are some final FAQs that you might find helpful when choosing a gas mask:

How can I identify the certification/approval rating of a gas mask or filter?

NIOSH-approved CBRN filters are olive green in color with a NIOSH label. In addition, the part number will match the number listed on the NIOSH approval label. In Europe, canisters that conform to European standards should be marked with EN 14387:2004 and color-coded with a letter/number combination to indicate which contaminants the filter protects the user from.

The CE mark in Europe is placed on the product by the manufacturer to show that the product is CE certified.

ISO certification requires the manufacturer to go to a third party and get certification for the product. The manufacturer will include a label on the product that says “ISO 9001:2015 certified.”

EN 136:1998 will be marked on the gas mask, along with the appropriate class – CL1 for light-duty, CL2 for general use, and CL3 for special use.

What does the “Cap” canister rating mean?
Can I wear a gas mask over eye glasses?
Is it okay to get gas masks from military surplus?
How well should the gas mask fit me?
Can anyone use a gas mask?
Can children use a gas mask?
With the right cartridges and filters for the hazard, am I guaranteed protection against that hazard?
Will my respirator and cartridge/filter give me permanent protection?
How long will the gas mask protect me once I put it on?
Will a gas mask make it possible to breathe if there isn’t enough oxygen in the air?
Will a gas mask protect me if there is a fire?

Conclusion

Remember, the best gas mask is the one that keeps you and your team alive. Choosing the right gas mask for your needs is not something to be taken lightly. Take the time to do your homework, determine what you need protection from, and then order the right gas mask and multiple filters. Individuals should be instructed to keep their gas mask in good repair and practice using it. You never know when your life may depend on it!

Have we missed anything? If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know in the comments section below.

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