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How to use an Israeli Gas Mask

The Protective Mask:

Your mask is your first line of defense against biological agents. Take care of it.

1. Masking

Inhaling airborne microorganisms is the greatest danger in biological operations. A properly fitted protective mask, which has been kept in good condition will completely protect you against inhaling microorganisms in the air. Therefore, putting on your protective mask at the first indication or suspicion that the enemy is using a biological agent aerosol is just as important as masking at the first sign of a toxic chemical attack. Since you cannot detect the presence of biological agents, you must continue to wear your mask until you are instructed to remove it.

2. Your Lifesaver

While individual protection in chemical and biological operations is not the result of any single act, one idea should be clear to you - your protective mask is the number one item of protection against toxic chemicals and biological agents. Survival in biological and chemical operations depends upon preventing these agents from getting on or entering your body. While the protective mask alone cannot do this, it does play the major role. It prevents you from inhaling or getting into your eyes all known agent aerosols. To say that your protective mask is a life saver is to state a true and simple fact.

3. How Your Protective Mask Works

A protective mask is a cover, or shield, against harmful substances in the air, just as a house is a shield against wind and rain. To protect you from breathing toxic substances, your mask contains a filter unit. This filter prevents toxic chemical agent vapors and toxic solid or liquid particles from reaching your face, eyes and lungs. When you wear a mask, you draw air into it by inhaling. This air is purified by a filter unit before it enters your nose and mouth. The type of protective field mask you have purchased is the civilian issue, Israeli type with canister filter.

4. The Israeli Gas Mask

(Note: the inlet plug and enclosure cap must be removed and discarded for the canister to be effective.) As you inhale, the air first passes through the canister, which contains a purifying system consisting of a mechanical filter and chemical filling. The mechanical filter clears the air by trapping tiny solid and liquid particles (in the form of aerosols). Then the chemical filling receives the air and absorbs (condenses and holds) the toxic vapors. Charcoal is used in the filter, because it is a powerful absorbent. After the air is purified by the canister, it passes into your face piece, where it is inhaled. Exhaled air is expelled from the facepiece through an outlet valve, which opens to allow this air to escape. This canister mask has two major parts: facepiece assembly and the canister filter.

5. Correct Fit and Adjustment are Important

You know that toxic chemical agents, such as nerve gas, are very deadly. Biological agents may be equally dangerous even though they do not cause immediate irritation and do not produce immediate symptoms. For you to stop breathing and put on a mask upon suspicion of a biological agent aerosol is not enough to keep those agents out of your body. Your mask must fit your head and face so that it will be airtight when you have properly donned it. Many individuals make the mistake of pulling the straps too tight. Correct adjustment does not mean an extremely tight fit, but rather a close fit. Individuals with full beards may believe that they cannot get a good airtight seal unless they shave - this is a myth! In fact, individuals with full beards are able to obtain a better seal than those who shave, a fact which has been proven time and time again - by the Russians.

5. Putting on the Mask - Speed vs. Airtight Seal

You may ask which has the greater importance, speed or the airtight seal. Both are absolutely necessary. You must become expert, both in putting on the mask and getting an airtight seal in a matter of seconds.

Tips on Donning the Mask: You know that, in your everyday life, doing certain things in the same way every time, saves you much time and effort. Donning your protective mask is no more complicated than putting on your hat - if you go through the proper motions and the proper order.

  1. In removing your mask from the box (or carrier), always grasp it in the area of the nosecup, which is below the eyepieces. Remember that dirty prints on the eyepieces will interfere with your vision and will only have to be removed. Never remove the mask by pulling on the outlet valve.
  2. To put your mask on, grasp the facepiece with both hands and slide your thumbs inside so that the facepiece is opened to the fullest extent. Grasping the head harness tends to pull the edges together which makes it difficult to get the mask over your face.
  3. As you seat your chin into the chin pocket firmly and bring the head harness over your head, be sure that all straps are straight and that the head "pad" is centered, otherwise the mask will be uncomfortable and may not seat properly around the facepiece. Head straps can be best adjusted by a quick jerk or pull, rather than a steady pull. Use firm and outward strokes to smooth edges of the facepiece while pressing them to your face.
  4. Always check your mask: To clear the canister type mask, cup the palm of your right hand over the opening of the outlet valve - with your elbow pointing toward the ground and blow into the mask with the air already in your lungs. Air will escape around the facepiece, forcing any contaminated air out. To test for leaks, place the palm of your hand over the air inlet of the canister and breath in slowly.
  5. Removing the mask: Unfasten the neck strap, grasp the mask in the nose cup area and use a downward, outward, then upward motion. Never remove the mask by grasping the outlet valve on the canister type unit.
  6. Take care to properly replace your mask in the carrier. This is well worth the few seconds it takes. The next time you have to take it out and get it on - it may be "for real." Make sure that the head harness is folded into the face piece. Again, keep your hands off the eyepiece.

6. It's Your Baby

You are responsible for the care of your protective mask. In view of the potential dangers of biological and chemical threats, it hardly seems necessary to explain in detail why you must take excellent care of your mask (you should never carry the canister inside the face piece of the canister-type mask). Water will damage the filter element in the canister of your protective mask, destroying their efficiency. Use a waterproofed bag during continued hard rain, and at any time when water is likely to soak through the mask carrier.

In a personal decontamination procedure, take a strong disinfectant placed on a cloth and wipe the outside rubber areas of the mask, then remove your mask just before you step under the shower.



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