Letter Re: Gas Masks, Fire, and Chlorine Gas

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Jim,
Thank you for your hard work on maintaining the SurvivalBlog. I was first introduced to survival ideas in the late 1990s when I read your novel "TEOTWAWKI" (I read it again when it was [expanded and] re-published as "Patriots".) I truly appreciate the time and effort you spend promoting a self-reliant way of life. I am an Air Force NBC instructor (have been for about 8 years now) and I am concerned that recent posts on your web site will lead people to believe that military gas masks will protect them from industrial chemical releases. Military masks (M17, M40, M45, MCU-2 series, and others) are designed for battlefield concentrations of chemical agents. Battlefield concentrations of chemical agents are expected to be lower than those that result from industrial releases. These masks are not designed to protect the wearer from toxic industrial materials including chlorine. The Army Technical Manuals (TMs.) and Air Force Technical Orders (TOs) for masks using the C2A1 canister all contain warnings about the limitations of the C2A1 canisters.
Here is an excerpt from the MCU-2 technical order dated 24 June 2004 (about a decade after the introduction of the C2A1 canister):
"WARNING. The MCU-2 Series mask is not an authorized respiratory device for industrial chemical use. The canister will not protect against ammonia or carbon monoxide, and the mask is not effective in confined spaces where there is not enough oxygen in the air to support life." Here is an excerpt from Air Force Manual 10-100 ,dated 1 June 2004:
"The mask is ineffective in industrial chemical environments such as ammonia or chlorine spills, or within carbon monoxide atmospheres." I realize that some companies (Scott and 3M) manufacture filters that do protect against chlorine and are compatible with the threads on most military masks; however, the military canisters do not provide this level of filtration. It is important that people know the capabilities and limitations of any protective equipment prior to using it. Thanks again for your work on SurvivalBlog. I hope that this information is helpful. Thank you. - Scott

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on October 26, 2006 11:31 PM.

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