Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Prudent Prepping: Protection For When Things Get Hot

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.  

Fire: Week Two
Depending on the direction of the winds blowing from the Napa and Sonoma County fires, the air quality in the San Francisco area has been anywhere from hazy to unbearable. It has caused every Home Improvement store (both chain and independent) in a 30 mile radius to run out of filter masks.

Why did they all sell out you ask? Here is the reason:

There is a mountain behind the smoke

This a view of Mt. Diablo from Highway 24, approaching Walnut Creek CA. Air quality is about what an average smoky day looks like and believe me, it's been worse.

Same view, different day

This picture is taken half a mile further back, and if you compare the two pictures, there is a gum drop tree in the top picture over the middle white car, which is the same gum drop tree over the white building on the left in this picture. The air quality shown here is a bad winter day, almost to the point the Air Quality Management district would call for a 'Spare The Air Day' and prohibit using your fireplace.

Seriously, you can be fined for having a fire here in CA.

3M Particulate Respirator 8511 N95
All filter masks in the stores I call on have either been sold out or loaded onto a transfer truck and sent to the fire zone stores. Unfortunately, this also includes  masks that are not effective against smoke.

The minimum rating for smoke and particulate filtering is an N95 rated mask, and 3M is one of the most recognized rated brands. There are several different N95 styles, and several more highly-rated masks and actual replaceable cartridge respirators, but those are not necessary for the conditions around me.
3M #8511

This mask has two bands (as opposed to only one band on the not-recommended masks) and a bendable/moldable metal over-the-nose piece to fit it to your face.

Information from the 3M website:
  • NIOSH approved for at least 95 percent filtration efficiency against certain non-oil based particles
  • 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve reduces heat build-up inside the respirator
  • Adjustable M-noseclip reduces potential for eyewear fogging
  • Braided headbands two-strap design with dual point attachment helps provide a secure seal
  • 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve reduces heat build-up inside the respirator
  • Spacious and durable
  • Designed to increase comfort and wearability
  • Advanced Electret Media is designed for ease of breathing

With the fires approaching 50% containment and the possibility of a very small amount of rain in the fire zone over the weekend, demand for masks has slowed somewhat. This has allowed me to buy a box at my stop today, and I will be buying another box soon and dividing them up into my Buckets of Holding. This will give me some shareable breathing protection to go along with the supplies in them.

The Recap
  • Keep your plans flexible, and be prepared to toss them out or modify parts as needed.
The Takeaway
  • One box of 3M 8511 Filter Masks: $16.98 if purchased from Amazon with Prime; mine were from Home Depot and I paid $20.97 for them. 

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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