Property Damage, Safety

Respirators – Breathing Safe Air While Working On A Restoration Project

safety-gear-vancouver-1This article is about respirators, you know… the gas mask looking devices you see in the movies. Well, I figured if you are going to be dealing with some of your own property restoration projects you should at least be aware of how to protect yourself.

The use of respirators is obviously not needed on the majority of projects, but if you are dealing with a water damage loss containing contaminated water, a fire damage project, or a mould remediation then you should definitely consider picking up a respirator from your local hardware shop.

There are three basic types of respirators:

  • Air Filtering/Purifying Type
  • Air Supplying Type
  • And those containing a mixture of both air filtering and supplying

The first type, air filtering / purifying respirators are the most common type and likely all you will need. If you find yourself buying an air supplying respirator then I hope you are well trained in what it is your are planning on restoring, as these are usually reserved for the professionals working on bigger more dangerous projects.

Air filtering / Purifying Respirators come in many different types including:

  • The common white dusk masks (such as the 3M type) useful for light work, helpful for filtering out larger dust particles.
  • Half face respirators with the option to attach many different kind of disposable cartridges (filters).
  • Full face respirators that protect the eyes and face from irritants and particles while also having the same cartridges options as the half mask respirator
  • Powered air purifying respirators (PAPR), again will have all the capabilities of adding different kinds of filter cartridges, have full face protection, while also having the ability to pump air the into the mask which helps reduce worker fatigue. You will not likely be needing one of these respirators unless you plan on working for long periods of time and want to spend the extra money on it.

When it comes to which cartridges (filters) to choose for your respirator that will depend on what kind of project you are taking on.

For microbial type jobs such as mould remediation, fire/smoke damage jobs , and category-3 water damage jobs then you will be requiring cartridges with a minimum rating of P100/OV. The P100 rating will filter the airborne particulates out, while the OV rating will stop any organic vapours present.

On a closing note, the full face respirators are ideal as they will offer full protection to your face however a half face respirator with a pair of safety goggles could also do the trick. Just know that more protection the better and be sure to choose the right cartridges for type of restoration project you are taking on.


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