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#291124 - 11/16/18 03:10 AM Respirators (& other breathing filtration)
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Loc: SOCAL
Since another thread is primarily about the fires ongoing in CA, I thought it might be timely to start a thread about respirators to deal with one of the by-products of wildfires. First though, what is Smoke?
Quote:
Smoke is a collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases ...
... so while a particulate filter like an N-95 mask might work well at a distance where all you have is particles and otherwise okay air, nearer the fire there are other gases.

I have two respirators; the first is a 3M half-face which has two filter mounts left & right, (currently w/ P100 particulate filters). While the P100 filters are great at removing particles, they donít do much for gases. I use this mask for shop work when Iím putting lots of sawdust in the air. Sometimes I just where a simple N-95 mask, almost as good.

Then thereís my SundstrŲm full-face respirator, which has a single filter mount on which you can stack/piggyback multiple filters of various types. Of note, the SundstrŲm H05-6121L Wildland First Responder Respirator Kit is similar to mine although in a half mask design. This system comes with both an SR-232 OV/SD/CL/HC/HF (organic vapor, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride) Chemical Cartridge, the SR-510 P100 Particulate Filter and the SR-221 Pre-Filter which can be piggybacked. The Wildland First Responder Respirator Kit also has a Spark Arrester which I donít have.

I mention what I have not as an expert (which Iím not) on what is needed, but as a point of departure for discussion. Iíve never tested my system near a real wildfire. Iím confident it will help a lot as Iím driving away from the area, but if a wildfire is that close, I screwed up by waiting too long.

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#291129 - 11/16/18 01:14 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3088
Loc: USA
Iíve seen emergency masks for getting out of structure and tunnel fires, and decided not to buy one based on cost and bulk. Itís worth looking into again. I do carry an N95 filter mask in my laptop bag (and one in my outdoors activity bag, and the emergency kits).

My ideal would be a firefighterís SCBA set up in the size, weight and expense of an N95 mask. Since thatís something physics wonít allow, Iíll have to do something else.

Are there aftermarket cabin air filters for cars that work better than original equipment in fire zones?

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#291131 - 11/16/18 02:09 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: chaosmagnet]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Loc: SOCAL
A cabin air filter would be nice, but the ones Iíve seen are for particles, dust and allergens, not gaseous fumes. Regardless, my truck doesnít even have a mount for a cabin air filter.

I keep N95 masks in each FAK, one of which is under the seat of my truck, but that only provides for particulate filtration. What I am looking at is getting organic vapor cartidges for my 3M half face mask and covering those with particulate prefilters. That should be less bulky than the full face mask I have and provide adequate protection when evacuating an area (if I wait too long and get caught driving in thick of it).

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#291132 - 11/16/18 02:14 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2027
Loc: NE Illinois
The 3M Half Facepiece Respirator 7500 series with the down-turned exhaust is my own favorite. It works well with my glasses, seals better & feels more than some of their other models. Of course the trick is to know what kind of cartridges and filters to use for your particular need.

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#291145 - 11/18/18 03:11 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Loc: SOCAL
Slightly on topic is the Zero Hedge article San Fran Uber Drivers Selling Respirator Masks As Wildfires Destroy Air Quality. $5 for an N95 mask is a helluva mark-up, but when your customer is choking on the air, why not squeeze a little more... Further down the article, itís noted that another driver has a bulk box of masks he gives away to his customers. I wonder who gets repeat business.
Quote:
...Bay Area air quality levels during the Camp Fire have been in the "unhealthy" range of 151-200 on the US EPA's Air Quality Index, which means that prolonged exposure can harm even healthy people. ...

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#291147 - 11/18/18 04:05 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6816
Loc: southern Cal
N95's should be routine in personal protective equipment - useful in lots of situations
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#291148 - 11/18/18 05:19 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Loc: SOCAL
I have a small ziplock bag in each FAK with N-95 masks and nitrile gloves; common N95 masks are readily available. I also have an Antimicrobial, Asthma/Allergy Air Filtering Dust Mask in the truck console, reusable and able to hold up better than a typical N95 mask.

But those masks really only cover dust particles & allergens, not the unburned fumes that are also released into the air. Have you ever blown out a candle and then brought the match into the smoke column to relight the candle without touching it? Unburned gasses rising in the smoke column... Which is why Iím looking to upgrade my real respirators to cover vapors as well as dust, smoke particles/soot.

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#291149 - 11/18/18 05:29 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
Ian Offline
Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Scotland
I always get confused about the public's choice for masks.

Often they choose exhalation masks, i.e. nursing masks which protect others instead of inhalation masks designed to protect themselves

Why not use a N100 mask?

Have you considered the relative protective factors of different styles of protection, face mask Vs half mask Vs full mask Vs power assist Etc.?

Have you considered 'mask fit'. All masks don't fit all people by a long shot. Probably more important than anything else?

OSHA Publication

I have spent a career designing respiratory protection systems, S10 mask, nuclear bunkers etc. Still the best advice is 'RUN AWAY', best protection possible.

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#291156 - 11/19/18 02:58 AM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Russ]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1472
Loc: North Carolina
You also need to think about protecting your eyes. Whether it is a chemical or biological hazard, or just smoke, you need to protect your mucous membranes and your eyesight. If you can't see, you can't escape.

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#291161 - 11/19/18 03:46 PM Re: Respirators (& other breathing filtration) [Re: Ian]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6816
Loc: southern Cal
"Why not use a N100 mask?" - good question. I am starting to acquire N100s when available, but N95s are more readily available and are obtainable in flat folding versions which are more compatible in kits and backpacks. I have a couple in my CERT pack.

Thanks for the OSHA reference - very detailed and informative.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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