Gas Masks

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by TechAdmin, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

    Any suggestions on gas masks? We have several local chemical plants around here and there is always the very slight chance one could contaminant the air. I recall a city in East Texas having a toxic cloud creep over their city a couple years back.
  2. gds

    gds Well-Known Member

    Always have on hand the $40 dollar respirator from your local box store ( better then a wet hankie). I think it's good down to .05 microns. That's what my acquaintances use for lead abatement, mold ,asbestos, etc..
    The cost and maintenance on a true gas mask is beyond most.
    Allot of degradation going on in the filters and the suit if it is readily available. As in laying in the back of the truck/car.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008

  3. ldmaster

    ldmaster Well-Known Member

    aw heck,

    Not expensive at all to get a real gas mask and keep some filters for it.

    I have a couple of millenium masks from MSA. The filters come in mylar sealed pouches with a several year shelf-life.

    A true gas-mask filter can protect you from a lot of chemicals - a typical respirator mask is meant to protect you from SPECIFIC chemicals (like the fumes from paint) but it's not effective across a broad enough spectrum, AND chemical compounds (most) are far far smaller than a .05 microns. Essentially there are absorbtive chemicals in the higher level filters (NBC rated filters). A few tyvek body suits are pretty cheap insurance too. Depending on the nature of the contaminant, you MAY not have much time to get out of there before your filter fails. There is a nifty tool to calculate the time your filter can be useful.

    MSA Cartridge Life Expectancy Calculator

    Tyvek suits are impermeable, depending on the brand and equipment, they are indispensable in a chemical environment. here's a good discussion of their utility.

    Information Bridge: DOE Scientific and Technical Information - Sponsored by OSTI

    If you buy a case, you can get them as cheap as 3.50 a case of 25, the deluxe models (with hoods) costing slightly more.

    So, a 150 dollar gas mask, 3 specific mylar sealed filters and a couple of suits and I'm set. Doesn't matter if they sit in my hot truck, or my cool basement.

    You really REALLY need to check who stores large supplies of chemicals near you. The National Water Lab used to be near me, and they had at any one time the equivalent of 5,000 dry pounds (each) of sulfuric and nitric acid. The map they had on the wall showed how far the stuff would spread in a low-wind condition, in a fire situation, in 1 hour, 4 hours, etc... I really really wanted to be at least 5 miles away within the first hour.

    I'd suggest talking to your local fire department, they have all these sites in a databse, firefighters like to talk - just ASK!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  4. 1sttnrifles

    1sttnrifles Member

    Sportsman's Guide has the East German m-10's, 3 for 29.99, includes bags, filters and extra lenses. Then has the NBC hood's for these mask for 3.99. Just FYI......
  5. Tom

    Tom Guest

    Anyone famaliar with the M-10 and it's efficiently as a mask?
  6. 1sttnrifles

    1sttnrifles Member

    Look up the US M-17, same thing......
  7. ldmaster

    ldmaster Well-Known Member

    Masks are only effective if they are equipped with the PROPER filter for the environment you are in AND if they give you proper fit. A mask with 80 percent fit you might as well not even wear if it's a truly dangerous environment. MSA sells a kit to help you determine total fit and to improve fit. Mask size is important, too small as well as too large - and some faces just aren't built for a good fit. You owe it to yourself to improve your mask fit, as well as find the appropriate filter for the mask. The M10, M17, Israeli civilian, etc... are all effective, it's the FILTER that you need to concentrate on, since most utilize the same threads, you can get a mask from one source and find a somewhat cheaper filter elsewhere.

    When you THINK you have an effective filter, put yourself in an enclosed space, and pour pure muriatic (pool acid) onto some dry chlorine and stir it. If you find yourself getting a whiff of it - RUN AWAY!!! It wont kill you, but the leakage is unmistakeable.

    You function test your firearms.
    You taste the food you can.
    You test your mechanical backup systems.

    Why would you NOT test the one thing that can keep you alive long enough to get out of dodge in a chemical situation?
  8. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    Having been a Hazardous Materials Specialist in a previous life, I do question the real-world protection of anyone purchasing surplus chemical protective gear. There simply are so many varibles. What's the chemical, what state is it in, how reactive, what does it react with, concentration, is it contained indoors or was it released into the atmosphere? You get the picture.

    And, remember...your "gear" (whatever protection it provides, if any) is only good IF you have it with you and you don it BEFORE being inundated by a chemical cloud.

    Finally, there is something called DECON. Removing contaminated gear when not having the ability to decon yourself or have others do it will still expose you to the chemical(s).

    SARA Title III, a federal law passed years ago, mandates your locality to be able to show you what chemical inventory a near-by facility has on site. Contact your local Emergency Manager if you have questions.
  9. Incoming

    Incoming New Member

    I picked up 3 m-10's a while back from Cheaper Than Dirt for $20 with filter. They truned out to be new units with a bag manufactured in Sweeden. Put them in the BOB's so it seemed to be a bargin. Also have some good quality mask from Israel for home use and a case of filters for back-up.

  10. Deon

    Deon Guest

    Just pick up one from your local head shop and buy some filters for it. Don't head shops carry the filters for them though. lol
  11. Incoming

    Incoming New Member

    Just noticed in the "Cheaper Than Dirt" I received today that they have Finnish Gas Mask with a filter and bag for $9.97.
  12. GPER

    GPER Active Member

    Different makes of masks fit different people so you will need to be fitted with a mask that will fit your face. You also will need to be clean shaven since facial hair interferes with the fit of the mask.

    Depending on the chemicals at the plants will dictate what cartridges you will need and how long they last. Depending on whatever it is you might need an air bottle.:eek:
  13. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    Gas Masks - WARNING

    I think there is potential for a lot of deadly misinformation in this thread. Please be careful.

    I retired from the Army in '95. Specialty was Nuclear Weapons / Special Weapons Team. If my information is wrong or misleading, please accept my apologies.

    Military Gas Masks filter particles out of the air. If you are wearing a military mask in a chlorine or muriatic acid environment (like someone suggested for testing purposes) YOU WILL DIE. When a chemical replaces air (chlorine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, etc) the military filter is useless.

    If you pour dirt through a water filter, you will not get water. If you filter a chemical through a gas mask, you will NOT get oxygen.
    The term "gas mask" is a misnomer.

    Blood agents, nerve agents, blister agents, certain biological agents are heavier than air and are filtered by the mask filters, just like a water filter would filter micro bugs or sand from creek water

    The further problem, is once you take the mask off, the mask in your hands, your clothing and environment is still contaminated with the offending agent. It is a specific military specialty to decontaminate (ever seen ET....)

    Dust filters / masks are a useful piece of gear in your kit. DISTANCE is your only saviour for a chemical spill. (or a scuba tank, but come on....)

    Please rethink the information being passed out here. It will kill someone.

    Any firefighters/ EMT's want to lend a hand on this subject?

    PS--the fibers in military gas mask filters degrade over time, that's why they are sold off. The US Military tosses their sealed filters after 2-3 years. MRE's last longer than filters. Aren't Saabs made in Sweden too? I don't keep one of those in my BOB either.

    Think twice about this friends. I can go on about chemicals but for now, this topic should be the one who dies.
  14. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

    I've used an Isreali mask in Cyanide.[methylisocyanate]it works quite well.
    But not in the concentration where it replaced air.
  15. skip

    skip Old hillbilly

    SN, I live about 20 miles from a military base which trains, and stores chem weapons. The wind would usually blow anything away from us. Should we be worried?
  16. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    I could use a suggestion on gas masks for my wife and I. The only thing I'm worried about is riot police shooting tear gas near my complex and having the wind blow it into our unit. I'm not too worried about other chemicals.
  17. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army


    For your purpose the Cheaper than dirt military suplus masks are perfect. CS gas disperses quickly or can be showered off and is (mostly) not life threatening. A special suit s not needed, just a cheapo gas mask.
  18. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    20 miles from an ammo dump

    On the first point you are right; the wind is your best ally.

    Chemicals are a little out of my specialty. My forte is nukes. I will answer you with a hefty IMHO and address the question if I were in your shoes and compared to what I actually would do and am doing.

    1/ A 72 hour kit is your best friend

    2/ a half tank of gas, as a habit, is your next best friend.

    3/ A 2-week supply of food, water and medicine, even before you break into your long-term food storage is a must.

    Here is an article about building a safe room.

    Homeland Security News » Safe Room

    4/ Therefore, some cheap painter’s tarps, duct tape and a homemade filter system complete your preparation. Download the free manual on Nuclear Survival. It is dated, but has some valuable parallel ideas. I sell the disk on eBay for $4. It has the complete manual and about 50 other e-versions of medical and survival manuals.

    Masks will work for Military chemical agents, but what do you do to decontaminate your body. Some agents will kill you with just a small dot of agent on your skin. The Israeli’s have child size masks, and they also shelter in place. But they are under threat of deliberate, delivered agents. Such was Dugway. A single canister breaking open and haphazardly dropping agent on the ground is a very minute threat.

    A safe room is a much better idea.

    In the Army, we would spend 30 minutes to 3 hours a day in full mask while on 30 day field exercises. Not fun. We also lived in our chemical suits 24 hours a day. Still, if hit with NBC weapons, we would still have taken casualties, both from the attack and the iffy process of decontamination. To have your children strap on a rubber mask that restricts breathing and makes you sweat like a pig is just cruel and impractical. For anyone who has bought a surplus mask in this thread, try wearing it for an hour and then tell me it is the best solution. I DARE YOU!

    I read the wiki article on the Dugway incident.

    Dugway sheep incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It agrees that the threat is heavier than air particles dispersed deliberately as an aerosol. Wind, Temperature, humidity and luck all play into determining the dispersal pattern and the “hang-time”.

    Terrorists are stupid. Unprepared civilians are stupider.

    NOTE: some duct tape does not stick well to plastic tarps. Check your stock out to make sure it works and rotate your duct tape thru normal use.

    BLUF: I’m okay where you are and wouldn’t worry. Anyone should have steps 1-4 on hand. Rest. Enjoy life. Look forward to retirement.
  19. jebrown

    jebrown jebrown

    I am a Viet Nam veteran and while in the military we held drills dealing with both chemical and nuclear contamination constantly. Those of you who have never been a part of decontamination don’t realize what is involved. That is why fire departments and military drill on the process constantly. It is more than standing in a plastic wadding pool and being showered by a water hose.
    The assistant fire marshal at the time in my city (now retired) asked me to video tape some Hazard Materials drills for the department. There were few changes but for the most part it was the same. The biggest difference is the material that the protective suits are made of.
    Talk to your local fire department about what is involved in decontamination. It might be possible for you to observe their next drill. If so, I promise you will learn mush more than you ever thought
    As mentioned earlier wearing as gas mask is extremely uncomfortable. You have to strain to pull air through it. If you think that children will continue to wear it just because you tell them to, well guess what when they get uncomfortable which will be 10 minutes at the most, off comes the gas mask.
    How many gas masks do you own? How long will they last? You will immediately learn that the times stated by the manufacturer and real life time is substantially shorter.
    What do you do when your masks run out? Will the incident be over or will the contamination go on for hours, days or weeks?
    If you don’t know how to decontaminate and take you equipment off properly you will contaminate yourself and possibly others. Now how will you properly store or dispose of the contaminated equipment. It can’t be tossed to the curb for the trash man to pick up. He may not be around for days or even weeks.
    As also stated what about your surroundings? Chances are your house, bug out villa, other buildings, vehicles, open water sources, possible community water supplies, trees, bushes, flowers or natural growing brush will still be contaminated.
    What about the viability of your equipment? There is a reason that it is called military surplus. It is not considered reliable and functional. If they will not use it why would you want to? Was it declared surplus because there were too many or because it is not considered functional and reliable.
    So you will buy your equipment at bargain basement “real deal” prices. Again why is it being sold so cheap? Is it in good working order and how reliable is it? Remember, if a deal is too good to be true, then it really isn’t a good deal. Do you really want to stake you and your family’s life on a bargain or something declared surplus.
    You say you bought yours from what ever sales from a foreign country. Hey, it must be good they are using them! Is what they are using the same quality as what you get? Did a company screw up with quality control and they know they are defective. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on a recall notice. But then again, you may not need to worry holding your breath anymore.
    Hazardous materials equipment can if it is the proper type filter out contaminates but it can’t provide the necessary oxygen to survive.
    I am not against people using hazardous materials protection equipment. Just like guns, knives, cars, fire, bows and arrows, one needs to know the proper way to use them or they can like guns etc. kill you with improper use
    Please if you choose to have this equipment take the time to use it properly so you can survive.
  20. Lowdown3

    Lowdown3 Active Member


    Or you can buy banana oil ampules and avoid chemical poisoning from improper use of mask....

    And FWIW, I've seen new top of the line masks fail a test just as easy as old surplus masks have.