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LDS Preparedness 101: Gas Masks: What You Need to Know

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Gas Masks: What You Need to Know
What gas masks are and what you need to know before buying one.
When 9-11 hit, everyone was running to buy disaster preparedness items, including gas masks. Was it wise shopping or was it panic-induced mayhem? Truth be told, those who bought gas masks may have done so without some vital information that they should have had before making the purchase.

What’s a Gas Mask?
Gas masks are head masks that are used to filter out biological and chemical agents in the air. In theory, if we were to suddenly be attacked by biological or chemical warfare, a gas mask would save our lives. However, there are many factors to consider before even thinking about purchasing a gas mask.
One Size Does Not Fit All
One thing to consider is that gas masks need to be properly fit in order to work the way they are intended to work. If you’re buying gas masks from an army surplus store or over the Internet, chances are that you’re not getting one that fits properly. Improperly fit gas masks may not work well and can even cause suffocation.
Are Gas Masks Dangerous?
If you ever put on a gas mask, you know that the amount of air you’re breathing in with the mask on is nowhere near the amount of air you’d normally take in. If the gas mask isn’t fitted properly, or if someone with a lower lung capacity (such as a child or the elderly) were to wear one, they may actually suffocate from the lack of oxygen they’d be receiving.
An Array of Filters
Gas masks use canister filters to filter out chemical and biological agents. The problem is, there’s an array of filters to handle a variety of different chemicals and biological agents. If you don’t know what filter to use or you don’t know which agent you need to protect yourself from, the gas masks will do no good anyway.
Where Are You Going to Keep It?
To be completely honest, you don’t know when or where terror will strike and you don’t know when or where you’ll need a gas mask. Unless you plan on keeping your gas mask with you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, you really don’t know if the gas mask is going to be there when you need it. And not only will you have to carry the gas mask with you every where you go, you’ll need to carry all of those filters with you too.
While gas masks do serve their purpose, they’re usually not necessary for the general public to use.

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Posted by Ryan Edgerton on December 16, 2005 10:05 AM | Permalink

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