Today I’ll be talking about a crucial item in any real prepper’s inventory – the gas mask.

Your life will depend on the gas mask whenever things run out of hand and dangerous pollutants or chemicals flood the air around you.

Such a situation may occur as a result of:

  • A natural or man-made disaster, be it a volcano or fire. If you’ll encounter one of these two scenarios, the air around you will become flooded with airborne pollutants with the potential to shred your respiratory system to pieces in just a few breaths.
  • During a riot when law enforcements step in and throw chemicals to disrupt the raging crowds. The gas mask will come extremely handy during times like these, and will help you resist longer without damaging your health.

Of course, there are other scenarios where a gas mask would make the difference between life and death, like a subway incident, but it is unlikely that you will have such items available if something like this occurs.

So, let’s focus on those cases where you can actually grab the mask you have available.

Let’s first look at the benefits: Using a gas mask when need arises will keep your lungs safe, as well as shield your eyes, mouth from heavy pollutants.

Overall, the gas mask will keep you out of harms way and will even make the difference between life and death sometimes.

You will find these items widely available on the internet or mostly any hardware or army shops in your area. The downside, however, is that they come pretty pricy and can weigh a lot, especially the military-grade masks.

Even more, they require periodic maintenance, so for them to work properly you will have to constantly replace the filter cartridges and store them inside appropriate containers.

Nonetheless, purchasing a professional gas mask is a life saver. But you won’t be able to carry it with you all the time because it’s pretty heavy and requires a decent amount of space.

So, what do you do when things catch you off guard and your gas mask is out of reach? You improvise!

DIY masks are extremely inexpensive to piece together. In fact, you may already have all available items lying around your household.

You can also assemble them quickly, and storing it is a breeze.

Before I proceed with the DIY, I would first like to highlight a few things:

  1. The DIY gas mask will never outperform a standard or military-grade one.
  2. The level of protection is much lower than that of a regular mask, so you can still encounter difficulties when dealing with a chemical or biological attack.
  3. Any length of facial hair can break the seal of your gas mask, which is supposed to be lip tight.

The most common scenarios where an improvised gas mask will work wonders is during a volcanic eruption, if a fire breaks out, and even during a powerful earthquake.

You will probably find this hard to believe, but the easiest mask you can improvise is with your T-shirt.

You can tear it apart and use the resulted strips to cover your mouth and nostrils. For best efficiency you should damp the cloth, if a water source is available nearby.

Another item you should consider during a SHTF scenario are swimming goggles. They are light and can fit any pocket, not to mention your bug out bag.

If you ever go to an event with a high probability of turning into a riot, you should always carry a pair of swimming goggles with you.

If authorities use tear gases on you, then your first priority is sight, as it will help you escape the rushing mobs.

To avoid inhaling any tear gas, you can use a bandana soaked in cider vinegar for extra protection.

And now, let’s get to the fun DIY part where you can assemble your own gas mask using a soda bottle and a few other miscellaneous items.

Here’s a list with all that is required:

  • Knife or sharp cutting tool
  • 2-liter bottle of soda
  • Permanent marker
  • Glue
  • Foam insulation with rubber strip (must be at least 1 inch wide)
  • N95 particulate mask (shouldn’t cost more than $5)

Start by cleaning the soda bottle and removing its label. Then draw a U-shape that fits your face.

To avoid cutting a bigger line than necessary, you should start with a smaller cut and then work carefully until you reach the desired size. Pay close attention to the size of the cut because the seal will cover this section.

Now remove the base of the bottle. Use the rubberized foam insulation on the U-cut to make the seal. Apply a circular foam insulation within the bottle. This will serve as your filtering element (N95 mask) bed.

Adjust the N95 mask by removing its metal bridge and elastic bands. Keep them for later use.

You’ll also have to remove the edging of the N95 carefully and leave sufficient material to preserve the seal.

Place the N95 mask inside the bottle neck, filter downwards. Now apply the elastic bands removed earlier to tightly seal and secure the mask on your face.

For additional information of how to do this, have a look at the video below.

You have now become more prepared for when disaster strikes, and will be able to shield yourself from harm even on the go, or when you can’t rely on your bug out bag equipment.

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