|Why Use Respiratory Protection?
Companies and individuals should use respirators to protect health and control occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays or vapors.
Safety mask respirators come in a wide range of types and sizes used by the military, private industry, and the public. Safety mask respirators range from cheaper, single-use, disposable masks to reusable models with replaceable cartridges and filters.
What kind of protection do respirators offer and how does it work?
Air-purifying respirators have an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element. This provides an individual with safe, clean uncontaminated air to breathe in.
What is a respirator:
A respirator is a safety device to protect you from inhaling dangerous substances, such as chemicals and infectious particulates. There are several different types of respirators safety masks, as listed below.
||Particulate Respirators/Dust Masks are the simplest, least expensive, and least protective of the respirator types available. These respirators only protect against particles. They do not protect against chemicals, gases, or vapors, and are intended only for low hazard levels. The commonly known "N-95" filtering facepiece respirator is one type of particulate respirator, often used in hospital to protect against infectious agents. Particulate respirators are "air-purifying respirators" because they clean particles out of the air as you breathe. Even if you can't see the particles, there may be too many in the air for this respirator to provide adequate protection.
Half Facepiece & Full Facepiece Gas Mask/Chemical Cartridge Respirators. These chemical and gas masks are also known as "air-purifying respirators" because they filter or clean chemical gases and particles out of the air as you breathe. This respirator includes a full facepiece mask or or half facepiece mask, and a filter/cartridge (if the filter is in a metal shell it is called a "canister"). Straps secure the facepiece to the head. The cartridge may have a filter to remove particles (such as a biological weapon), charcoal (to remove certain chemicals), both, or other parts. When the user inhales, air is pulled through the filter.
Gas & chemical masks are effective only if used with the correct respirator cartridge or filter for a particular biological or chemical substance. Selecting the proper filter can be a complicated process. There are cartridges available that protect against more than one hazard, but there is no "all-in-one" filter that protects against all substances. You need to know what hazardous materials you will face in order to be certain you are choosing the right filters or cartridges.
SEE OUR FILTER & CARTRIDGE DETAILED SELECTION GUIDE TO HELP YOU CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR SITUATION
Escape or Emergency Breathing Apparatus (EBA) Respirators are designed to be used only in an emergency, and only to escape from a dangerous area to a safe area. There are several escape respirators on the market. Many of them use a hood with a neck seal instead of a facepiece. They are typically designed for one-time use for a short period, typically 15 minutes to 1 hour. They may be available in a variety of sizes and will fit most adults. Individuals with small or very large neck sizes may not be able to use some escape hood designs-check the supplier product information before purchasing.
Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR). Powered air-purifying respirators use a fan to blow air through the filter to the user. They are easier to breathe through and they need a fully charged battery to work properly. They use the same filters as gas masks, so you need to know what the hazard is, and how much of it is in the air.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) is the respirator commonly used by firefighters. These use their own air tank to supply clean air, so you don't need to worry about filters. They also protect against higher concentrations of dangerous chemicals. However, they are very heavy (30 pounds or more), and require very special training to use and to maintain them. Also, the air tanks typically last an hour or less depending upon their rating and how hard you are breathing.
Click on some of the frequently asked questions below to find the answers:
1. Can I buy any Gas Mask or Escape Respirator and expect it to protect me from anything that might happen?
2. If I have the right cartridges/filters for a certain hazard, and my mask fits, will they always protect me against that hazard?
3. Can anyone wear a respirator mask?
3. Will a gas mask protect children?
4. Will my cartridge/filter and respirator mask protect forever?
5. If I wear a Gas Mask correctly, am I completely safe?
6. Will a Gas Mask protect me if there is not enough oxygen in the air?
7. Will a Gas Mask protect me if there is a fire?
8. Once I put on my Gas Mask or Escape Respirator, how long will it last?
9. How do I know a respirator will protect me against the hazards it claims to protect against?
THE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK ABOUT ANY RESPIRATOR YOU ARE CONSIDERING PURCHASING:
- What protection (which chemicals and particles, and at what levels) does the escape hood provide?
- Is there more than one size?
- How do I know if the gas mask or escape hood will fit?
- What type of training do I need?
- Has the escape hood been tested against claims for protection such as biological agents, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and radioactive dust particles?
- Who performed the testing, what were the tested levels, and test durations?
- Is the escape hood certified by an independent laboratory or government agency?
- Are there any special maintenance or storage conditions?
- Will I be able to talk while wearing the respirator?
- Does the hood restrict vision or head movement in any way?
- Can I carry the device in the trunk of my automobile?
- Is a training respirator available?
- Can I use the escape hood more than one time?
- Can children wear the escape hood and get the expected protection?