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#155403 - 11/16/08 04:32 AM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: ]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
I just ran across this LA Times article about the generator failure. I'm not sure I fully understand the difference between the two generators. I guess the one that immediately kicked in only had limited generating capacity, but it only needed to run long enough for the second one to start. The second one sounds like it could produce all the power the hospital needed, but its fuel pump failed and didn't start. And then...I guess the first generator failed, too, at that point.

#155404 - 11/16/08 05:48 AM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: Arney]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
The office complex I work at has two generator systems: one for the elevators, and one for lighting. Both systems are setup with automatic scheduled tests. The elevator system is run every Friday for about 2 hours. The other one comes on during a weekend once a month (I think... ), and runs for a few hours also.

We do not have anything super critical, but it's all automatic. The only time I think they are really used is during the tests, and Demand Reduction orders issued by the electric company. The power rarely goes out at our complex.

#155409 - 11/16/08 01:48 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: ]
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
Originally Posted By: OldBaldGuy
"...I heard a long time ago that generators should be cranked up every month or so..."

Any internal combustion engine should be run from time to time. You would think that the hospital maint folks would know that...

During the 'canes of 2004 our local Hospital's generator system was composed of something like three generators. When the hospital installed them circa 1969....they never had them ever turned on. Only one of the generators actually worked. Apparently no one had ever changed out any of the oil or any of the diesel either! They just had enough juice to run all the emergency systems and nothing more.

Since then they ripped it all out and built a 3,000 square foot concrete block building on a hill across the street that houses two MASSIVE natural gas fueled generators that apparently will run off the city gas, which is pumped locally from a well and in the invent of a power outage the city gas companie's own generators can fuel the pumping system.

We'll see....

I start up my geni once or twice a month, personally.

We start up the company's generators here in the Caymans on all of our properties, once a week - usually on a saturday. Standard proceedure. When/If I get a generator for the home, I will probably follow the same practice.
"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#155410 - 11/16/08 02:43 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: MDinana]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: MDinana
I'm pretty sure that an N95 is overkill. A regular dust mask should be fine - you're filtering pollens/dusts/allergens, not bacteria. After all, no one wears an N95 when they're doing yard work... do they?

Although the bigger ash particles that people find coating their cars and patio furniture during wildfires is the most noticeable part of the smoke, it is the sub-micron particulates in smoke that pose a particular respiratory problem since they are so small that they can elude most of the body's normal mechanisms to capture particles in the air before they reach the deepest regions of the lungs. A dust mask won't filter down to that size level.

The superfine particulates from burning wood are also a primary reason why there's a trend to ban wood burning fireplaces in some areas, on certain winter days, when particular weather conditions would trap the smoke close to the ground, where people would inhale it.

If you're interested in reading more about the topic, this document ("Wildfire Smoke--A Guide for Public Health Officials") seems to be a standard. It was a collaborative effort by staff from different public agencies across several states that often face wildfires and you can find the document on the websites of many governmenet agencies. Looking for a link to this doc this morning, I notice that it has just been updated a few months ago. Excellent! The previous version I had was last updated back in 2001.

#155416 - 11/16/08 04:29 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: ]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
If I recall correctly the report said that N-95 stopped only particulate matte and nothing at all such as smoke, fumes...etc. I think the article/report was put out to make sure in Post 9/11 that if people were going to buy masks...they buy ones that would protect them.

That's correct, N95 masks are only effective against dust/particles! Absolutely no protection against gases of any kind. It actually says so on the box if you buy a package of N95s. There is also some good information on the 3M (manufacturer's) website.

I've talked to a friend of mine, a retired firefighter with some 20 years of experience. Based on what he told me, wearing an N95 only helps against inhaling dust from collapsing buildings and the like. Of course, if that happens you'd still need decent goggles or you will be pretty much blinded by the dust. In any case, an N95 would only guarantee a fair degree of protection for a short period of time, perhaps not more than a few minutes.

If there is thick smoke even a quality military or civilian grade gas mask won't do much. It might keep you safe from toxic fumes for a while but it all depends on the filter/cartridge. Especially in an enclosed area or indoors there may not be enough oxygen left in the air in the first place so the only effective solution would be to wear your own self-contained breathing apparatus. Whether it's practical to keep one as part of your EDC kit is a different quesiton.

So in other words, it's a big crapshoot. It also makes me wonder whether buying a gas mask or respirator makes much sense at all.

I've also found this link pretty informative:

#155418 - 11/16/08 04:55 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: Tom_L]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
P.S.: One of the few products that my friend actually recommended based on his own first hand experience was the Draeger escape hood:

But note even a relatively expensive escape hood like that is only rated for 15 minutes.

#155421 - 11/16/08 05:15 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: MDinana]
dougwalkabout Online   content
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2894
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: MDinana
I'm pretty sure that an N95 is overkill. A regular dust mask should be fine - you're filtering pollens/dusts/allergens, not bacteria. After all, no one wears an N95 when they're doing yard work... do they?

I do. I'm increasingly bothered by the mold spores in composters and dead vegetation -- gives me mild flu-like symptoms the next day. Dust masks don't seem to help at all, but an N95 gives me a bit of protection because of the filter media and the two strap system.

Note that fit, fit, fit is critical to their effectiveness. Standard N95s don't fit me all that well -- I don't get a great seal. The (stupidly expensive) ones with the exhaust vent are much better. (I'm experimenting with stick-on weatherstripping to improve the standard N95's seal. We'll see)

Off-topic but interesting: during the SARS epidemic a few years back, surgical masks were found to be inadequate to stop the airborne spread of the virus. N95 masks were the minimum requirement.

#155449 - 11/17/08 01:14 AM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: dougwalkabout]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
While the N95s and similar aren't perfect, I would rather have some during fires or volcano eruptions than not. NOT having any seems to me to be worse than being exposed to ALL the debris just because I don't have $1900 piece of perfection that protects me against everything.

And when people refer to 'testing', my cynical little self wonders how they did the tests. Under likely conditions or extreme conditions?

Test: We sewed several mice into two N95s and then buried it under three feet of fine ash in a 55-gallon barrel. Said mice were removed after 30 minutes. All the mice were dead.

Test results: N95 masks don't protect against fine ash.

Cynical Sue

#155456 - 11/17/08 07:15 AM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: Susan]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Well, my rational little self would think that ANY specifications should be taken with a grain of salt rather than expecting a product to perform better than the manufacturer is in fact willing to guarantee.

The N95 is guaranteed to stop "95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger". That's it. I'm sure it would help against inhaling dust when the air is polluted from a fire in the distance. So would wrapping a handkerchief over your mouth.

In anything remotely approaching a dangerous or life threatening situation the N95 probably won't do squat. At least little more than pressing a handkerchief over your mouth. In a 9/11 scenario when you have major buildings collapsing in clouds of dust an N95 will last how long, a couple of minutes? And this doesn't even take into account eye protection (hopefully you EDC some quality goggles) and inhaling toxic fumes. No wonder why the firefighter friend of mine nearly laughed his pants off when I brought up the subject of N95 masks for personal preparedness.

I have used N95 and similar masks quite often in the past when I was doing paint removal and other odd jobs around the house. I couldn't help but notice that even the protection against dust is mediocre at best. Grinding steel with an angle grinder for an hour or so and my nose would still be full of black gunk (makes a lot of fun blowing your nose for a few hours afterwards). I sure wouldn't want to run the same test myself standing near a big forest fire or volcanic eruption.

#155515 - 11/17/08 06:13 PM Re: State of Emergency in Los Angeles [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
picard120 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 763
what other mask is best to filter out fine particulate matter in LA fire?

you guys said the N95 is useless.

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