Gas Masks and the Like

View Latest Activity

Viewing 27 reply threads
  • Author
    • #107814

        I have never seen any MVT discussion or comment on the use or need or place or philosophy of gas masks or other respiratory protection. Out of curiosity, I’d like to hear thoughts on the subject from the Cadre and experts here on the MVT forum.

        I suppose the absence of discussion indicates that gas masks may be an irrelevant concern or that the application is too narrow, or too unlikely, to warrant any attention.

        Nevertheless, even if there is no practical call for gas masks on the individual equipment load, there may still be some relevant application for the homestead and emergency kits. I’m thinking about the clouds of crap people were breathing in on 9-11, etc., and thinking of what people may face in various SHTF scenarios.

        So any thoughts, advice, recommendations, stories?

      • #107815
        Joe (G.W.N.S.)

          Here are a few discussions that get into Gas Masks and likely uses, I will add some more thoughts later. Consider the information in those links then feel free to ask any questions that you may have. I have extensive background on this.

          Gas Mask Opinions

          CBRN (Chemical, Biological and Nuclear) Defense

          Detection of Hazards

        • #107816

            Thanks for digging up those links. When I tried the search tool it came up empty handed. :unsure:

            I’m looking forward to your additional thoughts.

          • #107817

              Well “CBRN” is a complex subject. To be able to protect against likely threats requires a complete suite of equipment and training. I don’t want to say beyond the scope or capability of most folks, but maybe close. For a real threat, you have to be able to stay in a MOPP posture for as long as required, not just the time your one suit and filters are good for. Realistically, I’d say your best bet is avoidance, either un-assing the AO, or hunkering down with lots of plastic and duct tape! Being able to move around and function in a CBRN environment is a really advanced skill that I just don’t see most folks possessing the requirements to pull off.

              So in answer to your question, getting a mask, some filters and what-not is the tip of the friggin iceberg. Not that is isn’t important, but it may be beyond the realm of what’s practical to prepare for.

              Now having a mask for typical tear gas and smoke, sure good idea. But to completely suit up, sealed against some of the newer stuff, and be able to sustain that (additional suits, filters, de-con facilities, forced air filtration for shelter, etc.) is ‘nother kettle of fish.

              Balance all that time and expense against likelihood of occurrence, in your estimate of the situation, and drive on.

            • #107818

                Thanks Diz. I agree on the doability of full MOPP. I had to suit up for exercises while in the USAF. Even if you could get that stuff on in time, you aren’t much good for doing anything other than sitting still and being quiet. Lord help you if you had to run and fight in that getup.

                Out of CBRN I would expect that surviving blast fallout could be fairly doable for the average folks, depending on duration and distance. But suiting up against nerve and blister and bio-lab nasties without well-trained, well-stocked logistics would be a non-starter.

                So what I was thinking of was the possibility of tear gas and the noxious smoke and dust from burning structures that comes from civil unrest and general warfare zones. I’m not up on what’s currently available, what works, what’s junk to avoid, what’s a good deal, thoughts and considerations for stowing, carrying, and deploying, etc.

              • #107819
                Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                  When someone asks about gas masks my first thought is riot control agents and chemical spills such as chlorine gas due to a train derailment.

                  CBRN is an intensive and more expensive endeavor, it is doable, but requires more outside the box thinking. Without going too in depth right now I’ll give one example: suits will need to be reusable kind that would require proper decontamination methods. Standard NATO style MOPP suits would need to be saved for something more like in Max’s “Patriot Rising.” Safe rooms and/or bunkers properly prepared would be needed for most people. As noted in the above Detection of Hazards link, prior Intel and dedicated or improvised detectors would be required.

                  Fortunately with the exception of scenarios such as “Patriot Rising” or Rawles’ “Patriots” true chemical warfare is a fairly low threat.

                  Realistic concerns involve Nuclear Power Plant disasters (remember that any event involving extended loss of power grid over two weeks will result in most plants melting down, so know the relative position of such threats taken the prevailing winds into consideration).

                  So imagine a grid down event, all of the above plants require cooling to prevent meltdown. Most have at most 2 weeks worth of diesel fuel to power the cooling pumps. They all require people to keep emergency systems active.

                  No Fuel and maybe even no people since those people have families to protect too.

                  The Graniteville, South Carolina, train crash was an American rail disaster that occurred on January 6, 2005, in Graniteville, South Carolina. One of 192’s tank cars (loaded with 90 tons of chlorine) ruptured, releasing about 60 tons of the gas.

                  Anyone live near these locations?

                  The United States stockpile of unitary lethal chemical warfare munitions consists of various rockets, projectiles, mines, and bulk items containing blister agents (mustard H, HD, HT) and nerve agents (VX, GB). About 60% of this stockpile is in bulk storage containers; 40% is stored in munitions, many of which are now obsolete. The stockpile is stored at eight sites throughout the Continental US (Edgewood Chemical Activity, MD; Anniston Chemical Activity, AL; Blue Grass Chemical Activity, KY; Newport Chemical Depot, IN; Pine Bluff Chemical Activity, AR; Pueblo Chemical Depot, CO; Deseret Chemical Activity, UT; and Umatilla Chemical Depot, OR) and at one site outside of the Continental US on Johnston Atoll.

                  Besides accidents, what happens in a collapse?

                  How about these locations? Click for a bigger map.

                  The Federation of American Scientists have a very interesting map for all the hypochondriacs and people living in permanent fear of a deadly virus epidemic. Or a zombie outbreak. These are all the (known) Biosafety Level 3 and 4 facilities in the world—high containment laboratories that work with “dangerous and emerging pathogens.” Zoom in the image to see if there’s any near you.

                  But what do level 3 and 4 exactly mean?
                  BSL-3, Biosafety Level 3

                  This is the second most dangerous type of pathogen research facility.

                  According to the FAS, Level 3 facilities are “applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, and research or production facilities involving indigenous or exotic strains of agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by inhalation” like those associated with most biological warfare agents.

                  The scientists working in these facilities have to either manipulate these viruses or bacterias exclusively using “biological safety cabinets” or wear “protective clothing and equipment.”

                  These kind of laboratories should comply with special engineering and design requirements, including a “ducted exhaust air ventilation system [that] creates directional airflow that draws air from “clean” areas toward “contaminated” areas.”

                  The air from this ventilation system is discharged outside of the building after going through a “High Efficiency Particulate Air-filtered exhaust air.” This filter removes “99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 micron or larger in size, which means that all microbial agents will be trapped in the filter.”
                  BSL-4, Biosafety Level 4

                  This is the most dangerous type of pathogen research facility, the kind of structures you see in movies like Outbreak. This level of safety is required to work with “dangerous and exotic agents which pose a high individual risk of life-threatening disease.”

                  These high containment laboratories have to in their own building or in an area completely isolated from the building that houses it. That means that “walls, floors, and ceilings of the facility are constructed to form a sealed internal shell which facilitates fumigation and is animal and insect proof.” These are the rest of the requirements:

                  • A dedicated non-recirculating ventilation system is provided. The supply and exhaust components of the system are balanced to assure directional airflow from the area of least hazard to the area(s) of greatest potential hazard.

                  • Within work areas of the facility, all activities are confined to Class III biological safety cabinets, or Class II biological safety cabinets used with one-piece positive pressure personnel suits ventilated by a life support system.

                  • The Biosafety Level 4 laboratory has special engineering and design features to prevent microorganisms from being disseminated into the environment.

                  • Personnel enter and leave the facility only through the clothing change and shower rooms, and shower each time they leave the facility.

                  • Personal clothing is removed in the outer clothing change room and kept there.

                  • A specially designed suit area may be provided in the facility to provide personnel protection equivalent to that provided by Class III cabinets.

                  • The exhaust air from the suit area is filtered by two sets of HEPA filters installed in series.

                  • Supplies and materials needed in the facility are brought in by way of double-doored autoclave, fumigation chamber, or airlock, which is appropriately decontaminated between each use.

                  Why so many safety measures, you ask? Simple answer. These are the typical tiny monsters that are usually manipulated in level 4 facilities:

                  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
                  • Ebola
                  • Junin
                  • Lassa fever
                  • Machupo
                  • Marburg
                  • Avian flu
                  • and tick-borne encephalitis virus complex (including Absettarov, Hanzalova, Hypr, Kumlinge, Kyasanur Forest disease, Omsk hemorrhagic fever, and Russian Spring-Summer encephalitis).

                  Again even if it’s redundant what happens in a collapse?

                  This is a rehash of some possible dangers that do not require offensive use to need some CBRN gear.

                  As a long time Survivalist; now Rationalist, I had complete gear for my entire family including at all ages of my children’s lives. If you spend enough time working around this material as me, there was no way I was going to risk such horrifying deaths for my family regardless of it’s relative low risk.


                  I’ll post some examples of masks I would use for a variety of situations relating to below.

                  So what I was thinking of was the possibility of tear gas and the noxious smoke and dust from burning structures that comes from civil unrest and general warfare zones.

                • #107820

                    10-4 yeah I’m thinking much the same way. There is a good chance of a lot of smoke and nastiness is the air depending on the sit. A good mask and the regular training filters should be GTG for most cases.

                    I like the new M-40 goodness, although they can get pricey depending on demand and availability. The older M-17’s and clones are getting a bit long in the tooth, and all the rubber components are just plain dry-rotting. So a decent M-40 or two and some spare filters couldn’t hurt one bit.

                    The newer MCU-2 masks with the one-piece wrap-around eye shield are really nice, if you’re basically static, but the older M-40’s with two-piece eye shields are more portable, cuz they still fold in half for carry/storage.

                    So 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

                    In all honesty, I have never up-graded my old M-17’s. It’s on the list.

                  • #107821

                      Again, this is up to your estimate of the situation. Obviously this is more of a priority to some than others.

                      I mean pick your poison here. There are so many things that could go sideways and so much time and money to prepare.

                    • #107822
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                        There are so many things that could go sideways and so much time and money to prepare.

                        No argument here. :yes:

                        We all need to remember that something like a power grid collapse means many more dangers than most prepper fiction portrays.

                        It is much easier when you are just maintaining a capability that you have had for over thirty years, rather than trying to gear up “right now!”

                        What threats are near to your AO and alternate, of course this is all part of your IPB/Area Study. (“Your mission should you decide to accept it, build a IPB/Area Study!”)

                      • #107823

                          When I was a HazMat Tech we had these Drager Defens Air masks that came in a can like a large tuna can pull top. This should help with the dry rot, and they fully cover the head. Also very little training is needed. We had hundreds of them. Never used them in an incident. I don’t know if they’re still available, but I’m sure something like them is.

                        • #107824

                            You saw what they did in Ferguson? Baltimore? The primary action to disperse crowds is launching the gas canisters. We have seen that and know it exists in very recent times. That course of action for LEO personnel exists. If you live anywhere where you think this could something you might endure then a gas mask would be a wise investment.

                            Beyond a simple gas mask, like these guys have said (and they know far better than I do), CBRN is a rather large topic and requires quite a bit of training/expertise to survive. In all honesty, it would be hard for anyone to argue that your time/money would not be better invested in other training first.

                          • #107825
                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                              Overall the best mask for the money is probably the Israeli M15 mask followed by their civilian mask and children’s size mask.

                              A newer manufactured M15 should run around $75 to $100.

                              There are many deals in surplus that could be of value assuming you can check it out in person or a relaxed return policy. This also assumes you know how to op check the mask for proper function and possible storage damage.

                              Robert at JRH enterprises has carried these in the past, always nice to support fellow members.

                            • #107826
                              First Sergeant

                                To add to what G.W.N.S and Diz has said, if you have the right training and access to the right equipment it is doable, for a price.

                                I spent the first portion of my career training for the worst case scenario. We also dealt with that threat during Gulf War I. It sucked staying in MOPP 3 or 4 for extended periods. I attended NBC school in the early 90’s. One of the biggest things I learned is if you have to wear it for a sustained period of time, it is going to suck and take up a whole lot of assets to do it right. Most don’t have access to enough equipment to do it right.

                                My biggest reason for a mask is because of CS gas, tear gas, smoke grenades and smoke from fires. Plus having it for the other reasons that G.W.N.S listed.

                                One recommendation that I would make when looking to get a mask. Get one that uses standard NATO canister filters. Why? All of the NATO countries mask will accept filters from other NATO countries. And with a little bit of practice, you can change the filter without taking the mask off or having to get to a clear area.

                                The filters are everywhere on the surplus market. Just make sure they are still sealed in their containers.

                                The M-40’s are starting to show up more and more on the surplus market due to the adoption of the new M-50. We have M40’s, filters and parts for them in the surplus shop that I work in. We also just got in some surplus German mask that are brand new in the plastic. I don’t say that to make sales, just to make the point that they are out there for a relatively cheap price. Robert at JRH also sells the filters and the Israeli mask. When you decide to get one, get it from a reputable seller and it’s even better if you can go somewhere and try them so you get the right size.

                                Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                Je ne regrette rien
                                In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                              • #107827

                                  I should add that thr Drager is only approved for CS/CN oor atmospheres requiring P100 level protection. So no nerve agents. Also immediate danger to life and health levels, O2 below 19.5%. Unless you have an O2 monitor don’t enter questionable areas.

                                • #107828
                                  D Close

                                    On JRH M15 shows out of stock.

                                  • #107829

                                      Thanks for the rich feedback guys! :good:

                                      I don’t know how often this comes up but maybe this thread could be “stickied” somewhere? And I did do a search of the forum for “gas mask” before I posted this thread and came up empty handed – I guess I did it wrong. Anyway, since this thread contains links to the other relevant threads, it may be a good one to “sticky” on the topic. You never know when some other knucklehead like me will come along with the same questions. Just a thought. :unsure:

                                    • #107830
                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                        I added “gas mask” to the Tags, if someone searches it will come up now. :good:

                                      • #107831

                                          Per request, I’ve put some feelers out looking for more M15’s. Stock hasn’t been great on them in some time unfortunately. I’ll post something as soon as I hear something.

                                        • #107832

                                            One consideration that had occurred to me is that masks don’t typically work very well with facial hair – very difficult to get a proper seal. I suppose guys sporting a cool guy beard may need to consider some sort of full head option. ;-)

                                          • #107833
                                            First Sergeant

                                              One consideration that had occurred to me is that masks don’t typically work very well with facial hair – very difficult to get a proper seal. I suppose guys sporting a cool guy beard may need to consider some sort of full head option. ;-)

                                              I still own a razor and know how to use it. ;-)

                                              You are correct though. Where I live, if I even think there is a remote possibility of having to use one again, I’ll start shaving again.

                                              Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                              Je ne regrette rien
                                              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                            • #138500

                                                Does anyone know how long still sealed CBRN filter canisters are good beyond the expiration date?

                                                They are manufactured by MSA for their Millennium Gas Mask.

                                              • #138506
                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                  Does anyone know how long still sealed CBRN filter canisters are good beyond the expiration date?

                                                  How has it been stored?

                                                  High heat and vibration are the biggest enemies.

                                                  If you are talking about protection from crowd control agents as long as filter is intact it should be fine.

                                                  If I was thinking about a chemical warfare agent I would try to use the newest filters I had first.

                                                  Most NATO filters should be fine, Soviet types a little less so. Once you get to stuff from the 50’s the concern from asbestos is the issue. Such as the old M9/M9A1 mask filters which are known to have asbestos.

                                                • #138509

                                                    Storage was in a temperature controlled environment. Not to hot or cold.

                                                    Vibration minimal.

                                                    Thanks for the reply.

                                                  • #138641

                                                      Interesting article at Survival Blog on respirators and viruses:

                                                      respirators and viruses

                                                    • #152117
                                                      Dark Knight

                                                        I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I am still not really clear on which way to go if one is mostly concerned about CS and or smoke. Not always, but often enough to worry (once we go back to being in the office) I have to be in Washington, DC. The location is very close to the “heart of DC.” The National Mall is across the street.

                                                        My biggest worry is that my get caught near some kind of “intensified peaceful protest” between the office and public transportation. (I do not have the option to park at the client site and figure any available parking may be farther away than the public transportation (2-5 minutes from office depend on how fast one walks/runs).

                                                        Even if something does not happen right in DC, there have been some (very peaceful/ some less so) protests out my way. I don’t anticipate any true CBRN type events, just worry about the CS/pepper spray and smoke. I am not even thinking about COVID. I have a feeling the protests (and worse) will out live the pandemic panic.

                                                        I wonder if civilian respirators like those in the link below would work. I prefer the full face mask for eye protection, and the civilian ones seem to offer a better view for better situational awareness (since I obviously wont be with people who have my back).


                                                      • #152121
                                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                          I wonder if civilian respirators like those in the link below would work.

                                                          Yes, when matched with the properly rated filters.

                                                          Many go with surplus military because of cost, surplus generally in the $50 range and would be sufficient for crowd control irritants.

                                                          Overruns of new military masks can be had in the $100 range.

                                                          New military and civilian masks generally are in the $250 and up range.

                                                          For use in D.C. area you could also consider something in the escape hood category.

                                                          They do not have a military look to them and could help avoid law enforcement attention thinking you’re a rioter or rioters attention mistaking you as a LEO.

                                                        • #152137

                                                            Does anyone have a source for 3M CP3N filters or equivalent? They seem to be rather unobtanium right now.

                                                          • #152139
                                                            Dark Knight

                                                              Thanks Joe! I appreciate the input. I had forgotten about the escape hoods, and I use to train occupants on the use of them at a prior position.

                                                              I will look into those. That might save me from some hassles with security if they have to inspect my bags!

                                                              I don’t think either group would mistake me for the other. When I go into DC I dress like the Bill Lumbergh character in the movie Office Space or Gordon Gekko from Wall Street.

                                                              You must be logged in to view attached files.
                                                          Viewing 27 reply threads
                                                          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.