Selecting the Right Face Mask For Hazmat Applications
An emergency face mask, also called an emergency medical face mask, is meant to be worn by healthcare workers during certain medical procedures to prevent accidental airborne transmission of diseases in patients and even the treating staff. This type of facial protection is very similar to the masks worn by medical personnel in settings such as disaster response and the military. The masks provide basic protection against particles and other airborne pathogens, which are able to enter the patient’s airway through broken or torn skin or mucous membranes that may be present. As such, these devices are also used during certain types of mass casualty events such as blood transfusions, the handling of infectious disease victims and the transportation of hazardous materials.
Face masks worn during emergencies or mass casualties operations must be approved by the UL rating before being worn. The most common types of face protection worn in these circumstances are the full face mask that covers the entire nose, chin and cheeks. Other styles include the nasal shield or the nasal arrest, which only covers the nose. A half face mask is another option that only covers the ears. These products are usually made from high quality materials such as latex.
The UL rating of an emergency or mass casualty face mask should indicate whether it is designed to prevent the entry of dust, particles and other allergens. It should also indicate whether the device provides a good barrier against airborne irritants, such as irritants caused by medical processes, drugs or biological hazards. In fact, any UL rating should be considered when purchasing an item such as this to ensure its continued effectiveness and compatibility with other products.
An important factor that many healthcare workers consider when purchasing a face mask for use during hazmat applications is whether or not the mask provides a level of comfort while wearing. The design of the mask and how it fits affects the wearer’s comfort. It is important to choose a design that is comfortable as well as effective in blocking the entry of potentially harmful dust particles. Many masks for hazmat applications are constructed with thick plastic outer liners to provide extra strength and resistance to tear and abrasion. Different inner liners may also have varying degrees of breathability to allow some airflow without increasing the amount of time a user has to wear a face mask.
One factor that many people do not consider while choosing masks for hazmat applications is if the mask will provide a barrier to infection. To keep contaminated droplets from entering the nose, one should choose a mask that fits well and seals completely. For example, some masks can be fitted with full or partial airtightness. Some masks can be specially designed for tight or restricted facial widths.
Another factor that should be evaluated when selecting an exhalation valve or face shield is how well they fit. Masks for personal protection are typically worn on one hand while breathing. Most masks are designed to fit over the nose and mouth openings but occasionally will be produced with adjustable straps or face shields that can be worn over either the nose or mouth. These straps and masks can be made of fabric or leather. The type of fabric used will depend on how comfortable the wearer is with it and also how long the individual will be wearing the protective gear.