So, your neighbors just told you they bought gas masks for each member of their family. You smile and say, “That’s nice” and wonder, as you walk away, “Are they Crazy?" What possible use could a gas mask be to a family in our neighborhood?” The truth is they probably haven’t watched one too many episodes of Dooms Day Preppers, but are likely being very practical and taking a common sense step towards family safety.

We all can appreciate the necessity for professions which can subject those who work in them to toxic substances like the military, police, fire, first responders, and certain industries to have gas masks and other chemical gear. However, how can it be of use to the average person not engaged in those type jobs?

As a nation, we have always embraced the need to be extremely vigilant in preventing fires. We’ve taken it so seriously as a society that we have built schools that are fortresses against fires. The safety of our children is paramount and we have been so successful that last fatality in a school fire was 61 years ago - Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, Illinois on December 1, 1958. 

We are equally serious about preventing fires at work and home, however the success rate is far less impressive than in preventing them in our schools. Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. In those numbers were over 384,000 house fires from 2013 through 2017 resulting in over 2,700 deaths and more than 11,000 injuries.

 But, what does that have to do with the neighbors buying gas masks?  It’s likely no surprise to you that Smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death in house fires as occupants can quickly be overcome by smoke and unable to reach nearby exits. As serious as we all are about preventing fires, most people haven’t thought of taking steps to increase their odds should a fire occur. Just as those professions discussed above have protective equipment, so should you have and your neighbors who bought the gas masks took that extra step to protect their family. With the proper filter, they have turned those gas masks into a fire escape hood.  

The right filter MUST be used. Just because a mask has a filter that can be effective against chemical warfare agents doesn’t mean it will work in a fire at home even if there is enough oxygen present. The filter MUST be designed specifically for the purpose overcoming smoke & particulates (along with high concentrations of carbon monoxide).   

That’s where our VK-450 gas mask filters come in. While most conventional gas masks and filters can protect you from hundreds of nuclear, biological and chemical threats, the VK-450 is one of just a few filters that can also protect you from carbon monoxide and minimize the risk of smoke inhalation. The VK-450 helps to convert CO into CO2, allowing you to breathe it out. So, instead of also keeping a single-use fire/smoke hood on hand, you can use your existing gas mask or the one you are buying for smoke protection in case of a house fire or wildfire.

Of course, there are other reasons to have a gas masks as part of your family preparedness plan, but helping everyone we care about escape a potential fire is always in our plans, so give everyone the equipment they need to get out safe.

No, your neighbors aren’t crazy.




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