Gas masks are a great thing to have for those of us who are worried about the future, live near major cities that could be targets, or just want to be prepared for absolutely anything.
I realize most people already know about gas masks in general, so what I really want to highlight here are a few major mistakes I have seen people make when it comes to has masks. Considering a gas mask could save your life, ensuring you don’t make any mistakes is most definitely important.
Never bothering to try on your gas masks (or have your spouse/children try on theirs)
This is just plain silly. In an emergency that warrants the use of your gas masks, the last thing you want be doing is fumbling through the process of screwing on the filter and getting the thing on your face. You need to know how to do that ahead of time. Sizing is also important, especially for children. There are child sized masks, but you need to keep tabs on the switchover of your child from the child size to the adult size. If you have 1 child and 2 adults, it would be smart to keep 1 child sized mask and 3 adult sized masks on hand. That way if your child has outgrown the smaller masks when disaster strikes, you’re already prepared. Another key reason to practice using your gas masks ahead of time is the fear factor. If you (and your family) are in a position that requires the use of your mask, the environment around you is already frightening. The last thing you need is to have a panic attack because you feel claustrophobic, feel like you can’t breathe, etc. Depending on your prior gas mask experience and that of your family, you may need to purchase an extra filter or two for practice purposes. In the long run, having everyone know what to do and what to expect in regards to their masks will make the slight extra expense totally worth it.
Buying filters that are no good
Always, always, ALWAYS read the find print when ordering perishable items online! Some sites sell gas mask filters with a fun little asterisk next to the description with something along the lines of collectible item only or not to be utilized in an emergency or even expired, for entertainment only. These filters are no good. Purchase your gas mask filters from a reliable company (read company & product reviews). What I like to see is a guaranteed expiration date of a X number of years out. Purchasing expired filters is a waste of money. Though they may still be usable, you can’t calculate their overall reliability. That’s not what you need when things are falling apart around you.
Keeping your masks in a bag so they’re ready to go WITHOUT including a decent razor
For a gas mask to work properly it must seal to your face. For men this can be a bit problematic if they haven’t shaved recently or usually have facial hair of sorts. A quick shave, even if it’s not pretty, may be required to enable the mask to seal. You can’t shave without a razor, and if you’re out and about or already on the road, the best thing to do is simply keep a good razor with your mask.