Wildfires are becoming more and more serious every year. This summer in California alone, wildfires have caused thousands of acres of land to burn. In such situations, proper respiratory protection is essential. If not protected, one can inhale smoke, dust, dirty air, and all the accompanying hazardous particles, which can cause serious respiratory issues and diseases.
So, in the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some of the best respirator masks one can use to get proper protection in case of fire, smoke, and dust. Let’s get started!
Respirator Masks For Smoke And Dust: 4 Things You Must Know
1. Why Use Respirator Masks In The First Place?
Wildfires, for example, can cause smoke, dust, and ash, which can have some serious impact on your health. Therefore, hazardous particles from the smoke and dust can cause serious eye, throat, nose, and lung irritation.
They can cause serious cases of coughing and result in breathing difficulties. The same goes for workplaces where workers are exposed to smoke, dust, ash, and similar hazardous particles. However, that can be avoided with a simple respirator mask.
A respirator mask covers your nose and mouth, protecting your lugs from smoke, dust, and ash. Such a respirator has a tight seal fit, which means, nothing’s going to pass the mask. It filters out some or ash particles before they even come to your nose and mouth, with an incredible filtering efficiency.
2. How Do You Know If You Need A Respirator Mask?
When a wildfire occurs, it can be hard to determine the seriousness of the situation right away. Most of the time, we cannot even see the smoke and ash particles in our immediate environment.
Therefore, it can be hard to determine whether you need to wear a respirator mask or not. The same goes for particular workplaces, where you need protection from particles you don’t even see. Well, here are some situations where you need to put your mask on and protect your precious lungs;
3. How To Choose The Best Respirator Mask For Smoke And Dust?
Here are some tips on how you can choose the best respirator mask;
- Buy your respirator mask at PPE stores (personal protective equipment), hardware home repair stores, or pharmacies.
- Choose a ‘particulate’ respirator mask, that has been tested and approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH.
- Choose a respirator mask that features 2 straps that go around your head.
- Choose a respirator mask that has a tight seal fit, especially around your nose and under your chin. Make sure it has no leakage around the edge because if it does have leakage, it is useless against hazardous particles.
- Choose a mask that is made of high-quality materials. Such materials often include silicone, rubber, or neoprene. We recommend you opt for silicone because it is flexible, most comfortable, and very easy to wash.
4. How To Stay Safe With Or Without Respirator Mask?
3 Best Respirator Masks For Smoke And Dust
1. 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Reusable Respirator – Best Reusable Respirator Mask
Regardless of whether you need it for a workplace or an emergency wildfire situation, this mask will have you protected without a doubt. Currently, the 3M reusable respirator mask is one of the best on the market. It is designed to keep you protected while you need protection. When not, you can uncover your nose and mouth, without taking the mask off. This allows you a quick cover and uncover whenever you need to and can get some fresh air.
- High-quality materials – made from silicone, to ensure comfort, durability, and stability on the face.
- Comfortable and skin-friendly – even though it has a firm and tight seal, it is still soft on the skin and comfortable to wear even for a longer time.
- Quick Latch mechanism – this mechanism allows you to drop down the nose and mouth parts of the mask, without actually removing the mask from the head.
- 3M Cool Flow valve – helps reduce heat and moisture to make breathing easier.
- Low profile facepiece – the design ensures a wide field of view and is compatible with welding and grinding shields.
2. 3M Particulate N95 Respirator – Best Disposable Respirator Mask
N95 masks are generally known for their exceptional filtering efficiency. A traditional N95 mask has 95% filtering efficiency, which means it will keep the hazardous particles, viruses, and bacteria away from your respiratory system. The N95 particulate respirator mask is just as good. It has a more sturdy design, made for long-term wear. Nevertheless, the mask is exceptionally comfortable and gives you enough space to breathe. It won’t make your goggles or glasses foggy, and it will fit tightly around your nose and under the chin. Not to mention, the mask is NIOSH approved, so you know it is top-notch quality.
- 3M Cool Flow Exhalation valve – this valve reduces heat build-up inside of the mask and works as a dehumidifier.
- Adjustable nose clip – the adjustable M-nose clip ensure easier adjustment for less pressure on the nose and better comfort overall.
- Better fit – the mask features braided headbands, which now ensure better, tight seal fit, as they keep the mask in place for hours.
- High-quality materials – the carbon layer on the mask reduces the exposure to acid gases, while the soft inner materials and padding provide skin-friendly touch and support where needed.
3. Moldex Particulate Respirator Mask With Exhale Valve – Best Workplace Respirator Mask
If you’re looking for a durable mask that is comfortable but also tight-fitting, then the Moldex Particulate Respirator mask is the one for you. The mask is naturally contoured, to provide less pressure on the nose and around the chin area. It is also tested, certified and NIOSH approved, which speaks of its high standard efficiency and high-quality. The mask can be used during wildfires, or at the workplace (for example, if you’re working with wood or around fire and smoke).
- Dura-Mesh shell – this shell provides exceptional resistance in heat and humidity.
- Exhale valve – the valve ensures the workers breathe easily and properly even during the most strenuous work. It also ensures the workers stay cool, so there’s no humidification within the mask.
- No metal noseband – to ensure the mask is skin-friendly and leaves no marks, the mask doesn’t have a metal noseband. Instead, it has a molded nose bridge that seals easily and perfectly on anyone.
- Softspun lining – the lining and padding within the mask ensures comfort and durability. The soft foam nose cushion further enhances the mask comfort, even when worn for hours.
- Certified – the mask is NIOSH certified to have a filtering efficiency of 95% and more, for non-oil particulates. Furthermore, it meets heat and flame resistance standards and is certified under 42CFR84.
Other Products You Can Also Consider
Now, this mask won’t only protect you from smoke and dust. It will protect you from all sorts of particles, including wood flour, sawdust, metal shavings, pollen, allergens, mold, coal, fumes, and much more. The mask is safe and because of its tight seal, it will also keep you and your lungs safe. It is compatible with goggles, safety glasses, helmets, earmuffs, and other protective equipment.
The mask is made for professional protection but can be used in emergency settings where fire, smoke, and ash present a danger to you and your health. Not to mention, the mask is also NIOSH certified and approved, so you know you’ll be getting your money’s worth with the SolidWork mask.
The EZ-ON N95 mask is the first and only NIOSH approved single strap cloth particulate mask. It is designed for a quick fit, with the EZ-ON (easy on) design. It provides a more comfortable fit that the masks with two straps.
The mask is overall high-quality and designed to resist collapsing in heat and humidity. It can be used in the workplace but also emergency situations. The mask fits comfortably, stays in place, and with 95% filtering efficiency, keeps your and your health protected.
The mask is also flame resistant and is effective against non-oil particulates. Overall, for a single strap cloth respirator, this mask is quite good.
Anti Smoke & Dust Masks: More FAQs
We hope that our mask list and tips were helpful. Sure, masks may not be the ultimate solution in serious and hazardous events, but they can surely reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous particles and harming your lungs. Not to mention that each mask has its pros and cons, so make sure to look into each of the products and see if it fits your needs and requirements. Only then will a mask truly be useful to you, your coworkers, or your family and friends.