Thursday, January 10, 2013

What, You Don’t Own a Gas Mask?

            Many years ago I was browsing around eBay when I came across some gas masks. I was not yet a Prepper, but as I looked at all the various kinds of gas masks available I started to think about why I would possibly need one. Again, I was only looking to satisfy my curiosity more than anything, but as the minutes passed I began to think more and more about whether or not I needed one. After considering the idea for a short time, I decided I needed a gas mask for everyone in my house.

            Let me explain my reasoning. I live in the southern San Joaquin Valley. It is a bowl-shaped depression in the ground 2 hours north of Los Angeles and 4 hours south of San Francisco. The way the winds work in CA, a lot of the cruddy air from both cities eventually ends up here. My fear was, and is, that if there were terrorist attacks of a nuclear or biological nature in either one of those large cities, the fallout could end up in my back yard eventually. 

            Not knowing a lot about gas masks at the time, I decided to look at what the best sellers on eBay were as well as what was cheapest. I found a guy selling Russian GP-5 gas masks and bought one for each member of my household in their specific size. These masks fit over the entire head and provide protection from nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) products. I got them in the mail a week or so later, put them in a box and promptly forgot about them.

            A couple of weekends ago, I found them. They were still sealed and in great shape. The rubber parts of the masks were still very pliable. I took out the biggest one (mine) and put it on. It was comfortable for me, but it was very tight-fitting. A child or claustrophobic would have a lot of trouble wearing this for very long. Then I noticed I had bought an extra large (mine), a large (wife’s), a medium (older son) and an extra small (toddler). The problem is these kids are no longer medium and extra small. So I decided to find some new masks.

            Now, I could have just bought more of the Russian GP-5 masks. After all, it is better to use the same ones so I only have to own one type of replacement filter. I decided, though, that these masks were just too constricting for my family. I couldn’t even get a single person to try mine on much less live in one for a short time. Instead, I looked around the web and decided no one knows gas masks like the Israeli’s. 

I settled on the Israeli Civilian Defense gas mask. This is the same mask almost every Israeli citizen owns or has access to. There are definitely more expensive types out there with more bells and whistles I imagine, but I think they will do the trick and they only run about $24. And replacement filters are only $8 each. [Note: Some sellers sell very old filters, so check the dates when they arrive. While these masks last a long time, 20 or 30 years is pushing it.] I bought two for now and will buy a couple more next month, then some replacement filters the month after. 

Some people will laugh at the idea of gas masks. Even some Preppers will probably groan a bit when they read this. After all, I’m supposed to be the “Reluctant” Prepper, not the crazy mountain man survivalist-type. Well, all I can say is a $100 investment spread out over a few months is not crazy, it’s just good preparation. Besides terrorist attacks, we also dust storms, nuclear power plants, oil fires, etc. I’ll buy them and store them in a proper location to be used if necessary. If I never use them, it was worth the $100 for peace of mind.

I highly suggest you look into purchasing your own set of gas masks for your preparations. Some protective coveralls and gloves aren’t such a bad idea either.


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