Do You Really Need A Gas Mask? – Guide to Gas & Everyday Masks

prepper gas mask

When people think about a gas mask for emergency situations, they think something like this:

Some unrealistic end of the world scenario where a gas mask would be useless for long term. Or they think that they just ‘wouldn’t want to live in a world where they have to wear a gas mask all the time’.

The reality is, masks are needed for much more than just end of the world.

I recently read an article where New Delhi had extreme pollution that planes couldn’t even land.

In addition to the above article, the wildfires that are constantly happening in California require that everyone have some type of mask to protect your lungs and your life.

Then we have the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic where masks are becoming mandatory.

Masks are important.

While maybe a gas mask isn’t the answer to every situation, I believe a gas mask is still an important piece of gear to have.

I’ve created a couple videos on this topic which can be seen here:

Let’s talk about some of the realities of gas masks and why you would ever use one:

The filters have temporary use

While gas masks work amazing at what they do, if you are planning to use them full time in an emergency situation, each filter will only last about 24 hours.

Filters can cost anywhere between $10-$100 depending on the type of gas mask you have. Prices will also raise depending on demand.

In addition to all that, filters have a shelf life. Depending on the brand of filter, they can last anywhere between 5-15 years.

Gas masks for the whole family

In the videos above, I spoke a lot about how there were few LOGICAL options for kids and pets. Sure, there are options, but they look like freaking torture chambers. And not only that, but they are expensive, especially considering the impractical nature of them.

However, thanks to the company called MIRA Safety, we can now have reliable and logical solutions for kids!

Protecting pets is still a little difficult, but there are some mask options out there. According to this article, in WWI, they developed gas masks for dogs.

Anyway, the point is, gas masks are now becoming readily available (and affordable) for the entire family.

You need to shave your beard and take off the glasses

Yep, you absolutely have to shave your beard. You also can’t wear glasses. In fact, they do make glasses inserts, you just need to get the prescriptions in the inserts. However, I’ve also heard that wearing contacts can be miserable, as well, but, it’s better than not being able to see for those of us who are vision impaired.

In order for a gas mask to work, it must make a complete seal around your face. Glasses and a beard would inhibit creating a complete seal which would render the gas mask useless. So, I’m sorry. But be prepared to shave that facial hair and to do something about your vision.

Gas masks are affordable

You can get a brand spanking new Israeli gas mask with a filter and a drinking straw for around $30. The filters are usually about $15. I’d say those are pretty affordable considering they could very well save your life.

In my opinion, gas masks are not meant for super long term survival.

I don’t buy into any hype about gas masks. I’ve done my research. Extensively. Before I bought gas masks for my family, I was skeptical. Did I really need a gas mask? But other preppers helped open my eyes to the fact that I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

This is one of those items that you really don’t want to be without in any type of situation in which we’re talking about being unable to breathe or breathing in toxic air or chemicals.

If we can’t breathe, we die! If we breathe in toxic pollution, smoke or chemicals for long periods of time, we can severely damage our lungs and could end up in an early grave. This isn’t to scare you, this is fact. Our body is fragile and we should do whatever we can to protect it.

Gas masks are meant to be used in order to get away from a bad situation. Like if there was a chemical spill or a local nuclear plant meltdown, they’d be used while you are fleeing the area. Then once you’re safe, you remove the masks.

The type of scenarios you’re prepping for and how quickly you can get away from said disasters that would require a gas mask, will dictate how many filters you and your family will need.

If you’re still not convinced that every person in your household needs a gas mask, you can start with something maybe a bit easier and a little less ‘scary’ (especially when we’re talking about masks for children).

You can get N95 masks

The N95 mask is a great option for general pollution and smoke. Some charcoal filters and some don’t, but in general anything rated N95 or N99 are great masks to have in every kit and at home.

There are charcoal filter masks for kids

They have child sized N95 masks that will work good. Make sure to get your child used to wearing the mask LONG before an emergency or disaster. Because this is a bit scary for children and it can be a bit more difficult to breathe for them. So just get them used to it NOW.

You can get M1 or M2 masks

M1 masks are good for pollution and smoke and are generally rated N99 masks. They generally have valves and filters.

You can also go the super budget option and just slap on a bandana or shemagh, get it wet and wrap it around your face.

If you do go with one of the above masks that are not full face masks, be sure to have some sort of goggles includes.

Also, you may want to consider a full body suit, especially if you’re preparing for some type of chemical or nuclear scenario.

And don’t forget the IOSAT pills.

Any of the above masks will be good for wild fire smoke, pollution, etc. One thing to keep in mind about any filter is that they have a finite life. This is especially the case if you’re wearing it all day, everyday. They must be changed out.

I know we all like to think “that’ll never happen”, but as preppers, we should be prepared for whatever. That would include some type of “unrealistic” scenario like chemical or nuclear.

COVID-19 has really shown us that truly anything can happen.

And let’s not forget that just because we’re talking about nuclear preparedness, doesn’t mean I’m talking about a nuclear bomb. There are plenty of nuclear spills or meltdowns that could occur, especially if you live in proximity to some type of nuclear plant.

What do you think about gas masks and having general masks around?

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Morgan is the founder of Rogue Preparedness. She has been a prepper for over a decade. She's a wife, mother of two daughters and is homesteading off grid. She teaches people how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

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  1. Hi, Morgan, thanks for the info. I just looked up Israeli gas masks with filters and they’re $100 to $200! Where did you find them for so cheap? Thanks again!

    1. I find all mine on eBay!

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