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  1. #1
    Eric Russell's Avatar
    Eric Russell Guest

    Default Respiratory Protection

    I'm curious to know what kind of respirators...if any...the rest of you use. I'm also a firefighter and have learned to appreciate the protection afforded. Everybody wears one when the flames are visible and the fire's arockin', but after its out...we go into a mode of operation called salvage and overhaul where we protect the belongings and unburned portions of the house, and locate small isolated "spot" fires to extinguish. During this phase of the operation, everybody used to pull the SCBAs off and breathe normally. When you shine your flashlight into the air, you can see the tiny unburned particles and insulation from pulling down ceilings floating in the air....the same thing I see when I disturb the insulation in the attic or crawl across the various debris, piping, ductwork, or incomplete vapor barriers in a crawl. I wear a full-face N95 particulate respirator with a nose cup and anti-scratch lens. It might seem like overkill to some, but I've witnessed first-hand what results from unprotected "smoke-eating." Anyone care to offer up a post???

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    P100 filters on a half face mask and safety glasses for any attic spaces. I don't see a need for anything more such as chemical cartridges etc.

    Last edited by Rick Strand; 12-15-2010 at 10:20 PM.
    Rick Strand, CPI, CAHPI Associate - Strand Home Inspections Inc.
    Home Inspection Calgary Calgary, Airdrie
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Russell View Post
    I'm curious to know what kind of respirators...if any...the rest of you use. I'm also a firefighter and have learned to appreciate the protection afforded. Everybody wears one when the flames are visible and the fire's arockin', but after its out...we go into a mode of operation called salvage and overhaul where we protect the belongings and unburned portions of the house, and locate small isolated "spot" fires to extinguish. During this phase of the operation, everybody used to pull the SCBAs off and breathe normally. When you shine your flashlight into the air, you can see the tiny unburned particles and insulation from pulling down ceilings floating in the air....the same thing I see when I disturb the insulation in the attic or crawl across the various debris, piping, ductwork, or incomplete vapor barriers in a crawl. I wear a full-face N95 particulate respirator with a nose cup and anti-scratch lens. It might seem like overkill to some, but I've witnessed first-hand what results from unprotected "smoke-eating." Anyone care to offer up a post???
    Eric,

    I believe that half of the protection is proper use. As you mentioned, pulling off the mask before clear of the debris will not provide the intended protection. But, there is more and we need to follow-up with procedure.

    Assuming a foundation crawlspace and a dirty crawl suit (I do not wash my suit after each use, not sure about anyone else).

    1) Do you put on your respirator before you disturb the contaminant laden crawl suit that you are going to use?

    2) If the crawlspace access is in the interior of the home, do you remove the respirator after you have taken-off the crawl suit and left the room in which the access is located (you will bring dirt and other contaminants out of the crawlspace with you)?

    3) Do you store the suit in a hermetically sealed container and have it professionally decontaminated?

    Ok, I'm getting silly here, but my point is that, no matter what type of respirator we use; we are minimizing risk, not eliminating it. I can use the highest quality mask, but if I throw it into the same box in which I store my crawl suit, it isn't going to do me much good.

    Purchase a quality product.
    Read and follow the instructions.
    Maintain your equipment.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Also if you have a beard or moustache, you might as well not wear one at all cause you do not have the proper seal.

    rick


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I wear a $40 respirator while in crawlspaces. I used to exit crawlspaces and cough for several hours. Since using the respirator, no more coughing.

    I have a beard so do not get 100% seal but it definitely limits the amount of crud I breath while in the crawl. Store the respirator in a bucket with knee pads, gloves, and flashlight. Yeah I get a little bit of stuff inside the respirator but wipe it with a baby wipe periodically to get rid of the big chunks.

    I wear disposable tyvek suits. Usually get 2-4 crawls before they are too dirty to wear again. Sometimes less, sometimes more. This way I get to "cross pollinate" the next crawlspace with nasties from the last.

    Do I maintain clean room status. Heck no. Do I limit the amount of junk I am breathing in and coughing back up? Oh yeah.

    While a FF/rescue squad member I participated in the annual fit test for respirators. I know that I am not up to NFPA standard but wearing a poorly fitted mask is better than no mask.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Use P100 filters in whatever you have. I think they are purple in color.

    I use a full face 3M respirator with the pancake type filters. I love it and I hate it! I love it because it covers my entire face and I do not have to worry about crap getting into my eyes. I hate it because it can get kind of warm in the summer. I have on my want list a half-face design, heck you can get a good one for less than $50. Full face will cost you around $100.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Hm, a mask, what a novel idea? Sometimes I wear one and sometimes not...mostly not. I guess I should wear one all the time.

    Most of us that were in construction most our lives are more then likely 1/3 dead man walking anyway. Then you have the folks like my grandfather that smoked cigars all his life and lived to almost 90. Coal minors (some) live to be 80 and their wives die from black lung at 50...go figure.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Hm, a mask, what a novel idea? Sometimes I wear one and sometimes not...mostly not. I guess I should wear one all the time.

    Most of us that were in construction most our lives are more then likely 1/3 dead man walking anyway. Then you have the folks like my grandfather that smoked cigars all his life and lived to almost 90. Coal minors (some) live to be 80 and their wives die from black lung at 50...go figure.
    A mask! I would need a guide line, like used in cave diving, just to find my way back out due to fogging of the lense. How do you see anything? I can't even wear safety glasses and see anything for more than a few seconds!

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    vern

    wow buddy. get a mask or have an xray of your chest--fiberglass will not leave your lungs for a long time if ever. stay on the safe side and protect your family if not yourself--they love you and want you around

    cvf


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    vern

    wow buddy. get a mask or have an xray of your chest--fiberglass will not leave your lungs for a long time if ever. stay on the safe side and protect your family if not yourself--they love you and want you around

    cvf
    I was refering to the full face mask. Sorry wasn't clear on that.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  11. #11
    Eric Russell's Avatar
    Eric Russell Guest

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    A mask! I would need a guide line, like used in cave diving, just to find my way back out due to fogging of the lense. How do you see anything? I can't even wear safety glasses and see anything for more than a few seconds!
    Vern...some of the full face models have a nose cup w/exhalation valve built in. These prevent or greatly reduce fogging, depending on the fit. The half masks have no eye protection, therefore, no fog problem.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I keep a couple of the two strap 3M white ones in my kit. Unfortunately I'm too stupid to put one on before I go in. None of the full face seem to work for me. They all fog up my glasses, then I have to worry about E&O.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  13. #13
    Eric Russell's Avatar
    Eric Russell Guest

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Eric,

    I believe that half of the protection is proper use. As you mentioned, pulling off the mask before clear of the debris will not provide the intended protection. But, there is more and we need to follow-up with procedure.

    Assuming a foundation crawlspace and a dirty crawl suit (I do not wash my suit after each use, not sure about anyone else).

    1) Do you put on your respirator before you disturb the contaminant laden crawl suit that you are going to use?

    2) If the crawlspace access is in the interior of the home, do you remove the respirator after you have taken-off the crawl suit and left the room in which the access is located (you will bring dirt and other contaminants out of the crawlspace with you)?

    3) Do you store the suit in a hermetically sealed container and have it professionally decontaminated?

    Ok, I'm getting silly here, but my point is that, no matter what type of respirator we use; we are minimizing risk, not eliminating it. I can use the highest quality mask, but if I throw it into the same box in which I store my crawl suit, it isn't going to do me much good.

    Purchase a quality product.
    Read and follow the instructions.
    Maintain your equipment.
    Gunnar...no more than a tyvek costs, I use them once and trash them. Cost of doing business. I have a pair of Krawlgear gloves that I wash frequently and a pair of gel kneepads that get washed after every use. These get stored in a separate bag in my toolbox which, BTW, can hold all of my tools and toys for my inspections. I keep the tyvek suits in my truck box, along with a few other larger items, (i.e., 4' level, metal detector, water meter shut-off).

    Where I live and work, I've never seen a home with an interior crawlspace access, so that wouldn't be an issue.

    I've even got a fire hose material seat cover from Duluth Trading Co. for my truck in case I have any dirt of any kind on me when I leave the job. This keeps everything all nice and clean so I don't cross contaminate my other clothes.


  14. #14
    Eric Russell's Avatar
    Eric Russell Guest

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I keep a couple of the two strap 3M white ones in my kit. Unfortunately I'm too stupid to put one on before I go in. None of the full face seem to work for me. They all fog up my glasses, then I have to worry about E&O.
    Markus...Scott aviation, as well as a few eye glass makers (i.e. Oakley, Wiley X etc.), make an anti-fog spray or paste for your glasses and the inside of the lens of the facepiece.
    works pretty good. Even rain-x works well.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    If you get a good full-face mask that fits properly it will seldom fog. Your breath goes out the nose/mouth piece and not in the mask. Now in the summer it does tend to act like a small swimming pool with sweat collecting in it! A good one will run $100 to $150. Scott, 3M and I think Northland. Any good safety supply store will have them. You really need to try them on as they all fit a little different.

    I also wear a ball cap when I wear the respirator. Makes it a little easier on the bald head!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  16. #16
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    2,446

    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I wear a half mask with rated filters (and pre filters).
    When I was doing asbestos testing and had to be respirator certified I remember having to get a Dr's note that I was healthy enough to wear a respirator, then had to have a fit test with some really nasty gas.

    I have pretty much always had facial hair, and I just had to use vaseline to get a good seal. I passed my certification with facial hair.

    I don't use vaseline now, and just live with the small amounts that might get by my mask.


  17. #17
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I no longer own one, and can not justify the expense for home inspection work, but full-face powered respirators like the 3M "Powerflow" units are comfortably fog-free under almost any conditions.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I use the basic canister respirator (3M?) with the 2 screw on canister filters. I wear it 100% of the time in crawl spaces and in 100% of pre-1980 attics.... Newer attics where asbestos isn't as much of a concern I don't wear it much. I probably should since the fiberglass insulation does irritate my lungs. I don't wear any eye protection but often think I should.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I wear mine because I don't want to inhale the crap from bird nests/droppings, rodent droppings, and any of the myriad of things that can be in attics and crawlspaces.


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Charlottesville, Va.
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    Default Re: Respiratory Protection

    I wear a Moldex half respirator with the P100 filters. This is a new respirator for me which replaced some older 3M ones I'd had a long time. The Moldex is very comfortable and compared to the heavier, stiffer older 3M models I don't even know I have it on. I do leave on the respirator when I'm finished while I remove and shake out my coveralls somewhere out in the yard away from the client.


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