Updated August 16, 2004
"MASKS" FOR PETS
Rather than trying to keep a gas mask on an animal, ILC Dover has solved the dilemma of how to protect your 4-legged family member. The Pet Scape protects against Chemical, Biological, & Nuclear poisons. Here's the quick and dirty info.
Small fits kennel size 27" W x 19" H x 28" L $425
Large fits kennel size 27" W x 30" H x 40" L $567.86
Filters remove contaminants by absorbing them into pellets within the canister. Even unused, filters have a shelf life. Some expire in as little as three years, others five to seven, but be sure to check the expiration date before purchasing.
An expired filter doesn't render them immediately ineffective, but over time they will absorb fewer contaminants. Besides soaking up smaller amounts of the bad stuff, they can attract moisture making them less able to remove chemical and biological nasties. A severely degraded filter might only last 15 minutes in heavy concentration of contaminants instead of hours.
When filters reach their expiration date, you don't need to worry about changing the pellets. Each filter is permanently sealed. Simply replace the entire filter; however you may want to keep the old one if you want to practice breathing with it.
Even more important that an expensive mask is a high quality filter. It would be better to by a less expensive mask - not a crummy one - and purchase high end American M-95 filters for about $30-$35 each. You should only need to purchase two or three filters per person.
Generally speaking, expect the filters to last 3-10 hours. However, the higher the concentration of a toxin, the shorter their effectiveness. It is highly advisable that when you purchase a mask, you purchase a realistic supply of filters as well.
Make sure your filter is rated for NBC protection! These filters protect you from all known biological agents in addition to chemicals like sarin and other nerve gases, mustard gas, cyanogen, arsine, phosgene plus many organic and inorganic gases/vapors and inorganic acids.
Purchase new filters still sealed in the package. Once the seal is broken, filter degradation begins. You may want to keep an old one to practice breathing.
Painters respirators and ones used to prevent smoke inhalation will not work against bio-chem agents. We've also noticed some web sites selling dust or fiber masks as a line of defense against bio-chemicals. These simply won't do as they offer minimal protection and can't keep out chemical or biological weapons. End of story.
Pass over M9 filters which have a different diameter thread. Stick with the NATO screw-on filters like the one pictured above since they are interchangeable with a number of filters on the market. M95 filters will fit these gas masks beside others not listed:
M40/A1 & M42 Mask
MCU-2/P & 2/AP Mask
C4 Canadian Mask
|C3 Canadian Mask (M-69)
M15 Israeli Military Mask
Israeli Civilian Adult & Youth Mask
If you need to economize, it is better to get a cheaper mask and the best filter.
Filters come with seals that need to be removed before use. They may also have plugs or screw-on caps at both ends of the filter which must be removed before using.
Proper fitting masks are vital. For example, you can't successfully put an adult mask on a youth and expect it to do the job. Generally youth masks are for children ages 2-12, but correct fit depends on the size of the child.
It's best to try on a mask to see if it's comfortable. You may be wearing it for a while and you want to make sure the edges seal well and that it doesn't pinch your face or pull hair. Your eyes should be centered in the goggles and give you a wide field of vision. Make sure it doesn't fog up when you have it on. To give it a test drive, put your chin in the chin piece first, then pull the mask up and over the face. Use the straps to tighten the mask around the back of the head.
Check for leaks by placing one hand over the air hole on the filter. Breathe in and out. If the mask partially collapses and stays collapsed until you remove your hand, the seal is good.
Men with beards have an added challenge to get a good seal. Stubble can cause small leaks. In a pinch, it you have to don a mask quickly, apply Vaseline around the edge of the mask. The will help but a cleanly shaved face is best.
Some manufacturers of adult masks size their products Small, Medium or Large. Other makers use the one-size-fits-all approach, but this is harder to achieve.
How do you know which is right for you? Most retailers do not allow gas masks, filters, etc. to be returned. For this reason, and seeing firsthand it isn't damaged, purchasing these items over the Internet might not be smart.
GAS MASK GREED
Right now, because demand and fear are high, some retailers are charging exorbitant prices for gas masks and related items. Stan and I consider these price gougers no less evil than aiding and abetting a terrorist. Jacking up prices now, especially during economic hard times, is simply unconscionable, heartless behavior. One retailer in California is asking nearly $800 for a single gas mask excusing his greed by implying other companies are selling inferior product. Granted, a few manufacturers have produced crummy gear. However, this DOES NOT EXCUSE the selfish actions of some companies. Hopefully, with a little diligence and perseverance, you will find honest retailers with heart and not patronize the thieves with horribly inflated prices. Here are a few gas mask suppliers to check. Additionally, go to Google or some other search engine and enter "gas mask" + M95 or "gas mask" + infant. Please, please compare prices to avoid getting ripped off. You can get an idea of the wide price swings, as well as an overview of various masks on the market with the Gas Mask Quick Reference Chart
IN CASE OF ATTACK
NOTE: Please understand that Stan and I are NOT offering this as medical advice, purely as food for thought.
Take charge of your own preparedness - as much as you are able. Such efforts give a degree of comfort and feeling of control over your future. These times are frankly a little scary, but taking positive action helps the stress levels.
A number of folks have inquired whether or not Stan and I will be purchasing a gas mask. The answer? Probably not. We live in the county, in rural suburbia. It is doubtful, though not impossible, that we will see a bio-chem attack here. For a good portion of the year it is very breezy in Pueblo West with the prevailing winds blowing away from us. Houses are not stacked on top of each other here, nor is the overall population dense.
Additionally, medical experts raise a valid point. It is entirely probable the American public will not even know a bioterrorist attack has taken place until people begin to fall sick. By then a mask doesn't do much good unless there is another strike in the same area.
Weigh your options. Consider your location, your exposure and time spent in high profile cities. If you feel you need protective gear, it's cheap insurance and may just save your life.
Lastly, store water, food and household items as you would for any emergency. If you need help with water storage and purification methods, planning your food storage and quantities needed along with first aid and general household and repair items, please see our website under Emergency Preparedness. That and more you'll find in Dare To Prepare http://standeyo.com/Our_Books.html.