With the awareness of N95 survival masks as protection and tool for combatting the COVID pandemic and rising threats and disasters of many kinds, many are wondering if the survival masks should be an essential part of the emergency supplies that they keep on hand, all the time.
So, are N95 masks that good? What can they help protect against? What other important considerations are there when choosing essential emergency items like this?
Each year, we seem to be facing an increasing number and variety of threats. Face coverings and respiratory protection are a vital part of defending against those mounting risks. Yet until recently, masks have been drastically overlooked when it comes to preparing and responding.
COVID and its ensuing mandates and rules have dominated the media over the past few years. This has cast face masks and respiratory protection in the spotlight.
It has also finally been admitted and the studies released have shown that N95 survival masks are the high-quality protection everyone should be using. In fact, they have become the standard that is required in a variety of settings. This comes right before the White House announced that it had built up its own stockpile of 750 million N95 survival masks in early 2022.
However, this crisis hasn’t made us safe from others and the usual barrage of annual risks. In fact, it may have led to millions of households neglecting preparation for other threats. Even more so with some hoping that COVID may be fading.
Ye, every year, we seem to be experiencing record amounts of damage and frequency from other threats. This goes way beyond viral pandemics.
It includes records for wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions. That’s aside from historic levels of domestic civil unrest, global confrontations, and ongoing international terror threats.
Clearly, disasters are incredibly varied in their types and levels of threats. Let’s look at some of them and what role face coverings and respirators may play.
Nukes, dirty bombs, radiation, and nerve gas attacks may warrant more military-grade full-face gas masks and full hazmat suits. These may be rarer to have to deal with. Not everyone has the budget to fund that.
Tear gas may be a far more common threat, whether used by law enforcement or criminals during civil unrest. If you are caught up in it, then you are going to want some protection handy. You do not want to be debilitated.
News Safety recommends N95s as an option for journalists covering these types of situations. As does the CDC, NIOSH, and OSHA.
These are incredibly common occurrences every year in some areas. Each region has its own natural disaster threat.
These bring a variety of threats. Everything from debris, to being stranded without power, to building collapses, and more.
In highly prone areas, we are trained to always maintain an emergency kit. One that includes basics like water, food, first aid essentials, and radios.
One item that has been overlooked in these emergency kits is respiratory protection. It can be one of the most important even upon returning to businesses and homes. The Centers for Disease Control says that if not fully dried out within 24 hours, there is likely mold present in the surroundings that can present extreme respiratory health risks.
The CDC specifically recommends NIOSH approved N95 filtering facepiece respirators for these situations.
Wildfires appear to be getting more common and more severe on the West Coast each year. N95s are a simple solution for blocking out smoke, dust, and other air pollution according to a report by the New York Times. They are particularly created for environments like these.
COVID has catapulted awareness of the importance and value of N95 masks. COVID may be far from over. It is also probably pretty safe to bet on more viral pandemics and epidemics in the future.
When these crises really hit, it is too late to start preparing. COVID has taught us this. The food, toilet paper, sanitizer, and survival masks will sell out fast or the ability to buy them may be restricted.
These are some of the important questions to ask and things to think about when putting your emergency kit together for your car, workplace, and home.
- Are you buying legitimate and functional gear?
- Is it accessible and easy to use?
- Can you carry it with you easily?
- How many uses will heavier and more expensive equipment provide?
- How about all the above for your entire household?
- What is the specific purpose of each item?
- How much does it cost and will cost to keep stock?
While some can afford and find amazing-looking military and hazmat gear, it may not check all of these boxes. You aren’t going to wear it to Walmart to find food every day in the next pandemic, nor work as a cashier in it. Nor may you have the training or speed of use for it to provide more protection than a simple and lightweight N95.
You usually just need enough protection to get to shelter or for short stints in potentially infected areas.
Whatever your choices, be sure you have your supply now, well before your need.
Check out the latest N95 respirators and N99s at Bielcor.com.