Dust Mask for your Urban Survival Bag

Dust Mask for Urban SurvivalIn the years following 9/11 there were, and still are, thousands of emergency workers getting horrible respiratory diseases and cancer from breathing the dust left after the towers collapsed. As of recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we as a society realized how deadly a virus can be.

You might not be working in a emergency zone for weeks after the SHTF, but there will be things in the air you don’t want to be breathing. Here are a couple different kinds of dusk masks you can use for Urban Survival, or your Get Home Bag.

Types of Dust Masks for Survival

Going to a doctor for a respiratory illness after total collapse obviously isn’t going to happen, and even in a regional scenario, once you get out you can’t undo damage to your lungs.

Basic Dust Masks

The most basic breathing and dust masks just insulate your breathing from the outside air to catch the largest particles. You can easily carry a pack of these to distribute to your group, or others around you. You also will not stand out from the crowd because many people, especially rescue workers, will be wearing them.

*Note: Be sure to get N95 rated masks, instead of the cheap paper ones.

* Update: N95 rated masks completely sold out around the world after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Best to keep a few of these in stock in your bug out bag at all times.

Advantages:

  • Cheap
  • Light

Disadvantages:

  • Least effective
  • Quickly worn out
3M R9211-10 Particulate Respirator, 10-Pack
  • 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve, and a soft nose foam pad
  • Features a low profile collapse resistant design

Last update on 2020-03-25 at 08:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Respirator

The respirator can obviously filter more than the basic dust mask and really covers the main things you are looking to avoid in this type of situation including lead, asbestos, toxic dusts, fiberglass, ammonia, formaldehyde, or certain acid gases. There are a few disadvantages, not the least of which is that you will really stand out in a crowd. OSHA and NIOSH approved.

Advantages:

  • Much more effective
  • Longer Use

Disadvantages:

  • More Expensive
  • Heavier
  • Not subtle
3M R9211-10 Particulate Respirator, 10-Pack
  • 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve, and a soft nose foam pad
  • Features a low profile collapse resistant design

Last update on 2020-03-25 at 08:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Warning

It should go without saying that neither of these options will do anything for you in the event of a serious chemical or gas emergency scenario. They are for protecting your lungs as much as possible from dust, debris, and potentail viruses to a certain extent.



Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joelโ€™s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

24 thoughts on “Dust Mask for your Urban Survival Bag”

  1. Great point. My BOB has the cheaper masks in it – I'm going to get the N95 rated ones now.

    I also started carrying a folded up bandanna in my back pocket. I carry my wallet in my front pocket (better for your back – you don't sit on it!) and it, obviously has many uses, but one of the most tried and true is a field-expedient dust mask. It's not N95 rated and isn't form-fitting, but easy to carry anywhere and you'll never raise an eyebrow with it on your person.

    Reply
  2. Great point. My BOB has the cheaper masks in it – I'm going to get the N95 rated ones now.

    I also started carrying a folded up bandanna in my back pocket. I carry my wallet in my front pocket (better for your back – you don't sit on it!) and it, obviously has many uses, but one of the most tried and true is a field-expedient dust mask. It's not N95 rated and isn't form-fitting, but easy to carry anywhere and you'll never raise an eyebrow with it on your person.

    Reply
    • Dustin,

      Glad you got it straightened out. The N95 Rating is for the OSHA standards. For be it for me to trust a government agency, but at least when you get them that they will meet some basic standards.

      I actually added a link to this article on my 30 uses for a bandana article because it is a great use for one. And you're right it definitely won't draw attention

      Reply
    • Not to mention if you are a little more prepared with a mask or larger ventilator, throwing a bandanna over it to not draw attention to yourself and block some larger particulates isn't a bad idea either.

      Reply
  3. A few more ideas to toss around….

    Setting aside efficacy, another pro/con is that the thinner material of a paper mask is much easier to breathe through. A respirator's less permeable filters make breathing a lot harder — even more so if you're trekking around with a backpack full of equipment. Also, your ability to communicate verbally will be diminished.

    Reply
    • mythras,

      Very good point. I didn't think about how difficult it would be to do a demanding hike wearing a full respirator. You right a full one would make communication hard, but I think it shouldn't be too bad with the simply masks.

      Thanks for your ideas.

      Reply
      • I work with both dust masks and respirators. I advise against prolonged use because of the restricted air flow could cause dizziness or fainting. I would suggest wearing it long enough do get out of the area.

        They can also be used for assisting in water filtration removing the big stuff before using your actual water filter.

        Reply
  4. Search NBC mask suppliers on the web. There are a plethora of rather inexpensive disposable masks on the market that will do more than filter out dry walll dust or paint fumes. There are masks that offer protection from chemical, particulate, and biological components.

    Reply
    • Interesting…. Might actually help a little with larger debris but probably a little impractical unless your going for a fashion statement ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  5. I have used both a number of times while doing urban exploration and didn't really have a problem breathing while climbing around with my pack using the respirator. it is a little heavier and takes some getting used to. my biggest problem is how hard it is to fit in a regular day pack. However, if you are at the point when you think lung damage or disease is possible, being subtle is not generally your biggest concern.

    Reply
  6. I use a half-face and full-face respirator on a daily basis (oil, gas, chemical industry). I keep a dust mask, half-face respirator and safty goggles in my EDC bag. You would be surprised to learn the nature of the chemicals that are transported through our cities and towns by rail and water.

    Reply
  7. Dust masks are good for dust and that's it. What about bacteria or virus's? Even the best gas mask will not prevent inhalation of those microscopic bugs.

    I firmly believe in prep for all the other SHTF scenarios we need to include this one.

    Hospital masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer etc. should be included in every EDC and BOB as well as Home gear for all those planning to bug in.

    Reply
    • Actualy dude, on the instructions for 3M's 8200 N95 masks (you can buy a two pack for $4), it says it can quote "Reduce inhalation exposure to certain airborne biological particles i.e. mold bacillus anthracis (anthrax), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB)" unquote.

      Reply
  8. As someone who has MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) a mask with a charcoal filter is a must. I didn't have one recently when I was on a greyhound bus coming home in a 4.2 hour bus ride and someone sprayed body spray on the bus…Whoa pheewy! I coulda used a mask then but didn't have one with me and I was already suffering from an overexposure elsewhere two days ago…just made it harder for me to breathe and cough more. Definitely got bronchitis quicker.

    Reply
  9. investing in a real military gas mask( Isreal nbc gas mask )is a better idea than a cheap paper mask. you can pick one up on ebay for 20-30 bucks

    Reply
  10. Recently I took and graduated from the CERT Academy for my county here in Kansas. The N95 is the one required in a CERT volunteer's Go-Bag (CERT version of a BOB).

    Reply
  11. Please be careful. All an N95 disposable mask does is filter out particulates. It does not stop most gases or biologicals from getting through, it does not protect your eyes, plus it must fit properly to work at all. An N95 respirator is more efficient but that is typically a full face mask with adjustable straps so if you have that it is advisable to get a better quality filter that can handle smaller particles as well as gases and biologicals such as will likely be encountered in a pandemic. In a real emergency, you most likely won't even know what the danger will be so it is best to have a high level filter like a CBRN that gives you a very high level of protection against most of the toxins you might encounter, be they particulate, gaseous, or biological, even nuclear.

    Reply

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