Monday, February 3, 2014

15 Grams that could save your life

The 3M 9211 Cool-Flow N95
Particulate Respirator 

This particular mask does two important things; it works and it folds.

First, the 3M 9211 is a three-panel respirator, according to the manufacturer "ideally suited for  situations involving heat, humidity, or long periods of wear." 

Further, and again according to 3M, this mask "can also be used to help reduce inhalation of certain airborne biological particles like mold, Bacillus anthracis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, etc. Example applications include emergency or pandemic preparedness planning, stockpiling, etc." With an endorsement like that, how can you go wrong?

Well, that's where the second important thing comes into play. This mask folds flat, and is individually sealed in plastic bag. Sure, there is a small bump where the "Cool Valve" is located, but overall, it can be carried in almost any pack, bag, purse, pocket, or glove box.

One individually wrapped mask weighs 14.7 grams or roughly half an ounce. While a bandana might have many more uses, it is not going to provide the respiratory protection you will need when your life depends on it.

As a fold-flat mask, care with the fit is more critical. The trade-off is, however, that the fold-flat masks have a higher probability of being with you on the go which makes the fit issues secondary. You cannot have a perfect fit with a mask you don't have with you.

Particulate masks like this one are not perfect solutions. They are not 100% effective, often are of temperamental fit, and have a limited working life. But when push comes to shove, and shove comes to panic, you won't have the time to debate the merits of respirator performance while you are running for your life.

Carrry on.

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