For years those in the military, law enforcement and industrial sectors have used respirator systems to prevent them from inhaling toxic substances. In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. Capitol even stocked up on gas masks in case of a terrorist attack. Now, specialized for the civilian market for the first time is an escape mask that not only protects against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear hazards, but the most common killer in household fires -- carbon monoxide gas -- as well.
(Image: ILC Dover)
The SCape CO respirator by ILC Dover, a Delaware-based company that makes products for the Department of Defense, NASA and commercial clients, is the first one that filters out carbon monoxide intended for civilians that meets national requirements, the company said in an interview with TheBlaze.
"Originally, SCape products were used in response to terrorist events," Tony McKee, chief engineer of personal protective equipment at ILC Dover, said to TheBlaze. "Now it's branching out to industrial markets and civilian areas that have never really been reached before."
What makes the SCape mask different from others on the market -- and there are some -- is that it meets NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety an Health) standards. Unlike those designed for the military, ILC Dover Director of Global Marketing Doug Durney told TheBlaze, is that all the user has to do is open the mask's packaging and put it on.
Unlike those designed for professionals, this respiratory system requires no prior training. Even still, the mask provides the same level of protection as the more than 3 million M40 gas masks the company has issued to the U.S. military and the more than 350,000 escape masks contracted for federal employees and dignitaries, according to the announcement.
(Image: ILC Dover)
The American Preppers Network has partnered with ILC Dover to market the SCape CO to the public and the Prepper community, because it is something APN co-founder Phil Burns said in a statement "we want to put our name behind."
"The purpose of the escape mask is to put it on so you can breathe, grab your family, and get out safely," said Burns.
In addition to being useful in fires, the ILC Dover team mentioned the prevalence of chemical spills or issues with local nuclear plants situations where the respirator could be useful was well. The company called this the mask's ability to respond to "dual threats."
The team pointed out to TheBlaze that mask is also designed to be easy to use and wear in a panic situation. The mask has a blower that keeps filtered air going into the hood and an exhaust in the valve that pushes carbon dioxide that the wearer exhales out. It also seals comfortably around the neck at the shoulders so the wearer doesn't feel claustrophobic, according to Durney. The mask provides up to 30 minutes of protection.
Other features that set it apart is that the wearer can have facial hair, whereas other masks would have issues sealing in that situation. It also allows for easy visibility in and out of the mask and communication to the outside as well.
Watch this video about the SCape:
The hood is designed to be one-size-fits all, suited for wide or thin necks. There is also a version for children 3-years-old and younger.
As for it's cost, the $299.50 escape mask might seem a bit hefty. But Durney pointed out that it's the only one on the market designed specifically with civilians in mind.
"The $299 list price really gets you a product you can feel comfortable in to get you and your family out of a situation," Durney said.
As for its safety as a wearable product, meeting the NOISH standard, McKee explained, means that it has lived up to human trials. One of these tests includes measuring the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels inside the hood while a person is running on a treadmill. He said meeting the standard ensures enough oxygen is flowing into the mask and that the appropriate amount of carbon dioxide is exiting.
The mask is available on the APN store here.
This story has been updated since being posted to correct that "filtered air" not "oxygen" flows into the hood.