gas mask for nuclear fallout from Mira Safety

Gas Mask For Nuclear Fallout

First, will a gas mask really protect you from nuclear fallout?

Gas masks provide no protection against gamma radiation. Neutron radiation is similarly unaffected by gas masks. A gas mask for nuclear fallout is not a magic bullet. There are lots of factors and variables of your situation which will impact your survival and plan-of-action.

However, Alpha & Beta radiation (which is in the ‘fallout’ cloud) is stopped from getting into your lungs. That is, with a proper gas mask, fitted properly to your face.

A gas mask is integral to survival for many circumstances and situations beyond nuclear alpha particle radiation too (chemical / biological). It’s an important part of one’s personal protective equipment (PPE) in this regard.

CBRN or NBC Approved Gas Mask for Nuclear Fallout (and Chemical – Biological)

Chemical – Biological – Radiological – Nuclear

Make sure it’s NBC or CBRN approved. That’s important.

The term CBRN is a replacement for the cold war term NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical), which had replaced the term ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) that was used in the fifties. 

Gas Mask To Stop Alpha and Beta Radiation

Alpha and beta radiation. They are both low energy particles compared to very high energy gamma. Alpha being the lowest energy. In fact, alpha radiation is stopped by the skin on your body. Beta radiation can also be stopped by wearing heavy clothing (for example).

The problem is this… You don’t want to breath it! Why? Because once it gets inside your body, your internal organs will be radiated. That’s where a gas mask for nuclear radiation comes in.

MIRA SAFETY M CBRN Full Face Reusable Respirator-Mask
(MIRA storefront on amzn)

gas mask for nuclear radiation

Also, you will need gas mask filters. They need to fit your specific mask. And, they too should be CBRN or NBC approved. The gas mask shown above will accommodate two filters, though you only need one to function. Here’s the NBC-77 SOF.

Certified CBRN filter 40 mm NATO with Longest shelf life: 20 years
(from MIRA Safety on amzn)

A nuclear fallout cloud. Pulverized particles from the detonation interaction with the ground, buildings, etc. Radioactive dust. Alpha/Beta Radiation attaches with these particles. It will eventually settle across the affected land.

Following the explosion, fallout will be especially concentrated near the detonation zone. Other fallout will be suspended into the atmosphere. It will follow the wind current. Slowly, the effects of gravity and weather will bring it to the ground. It could go a long way.

Eventually it will decay. That’s a good thing.

Fallout gives off more than 50% of its energy in the first hour and continues to decay rapidly even after that initial hour.

Rate of Decay of the dose rate from radiation from fallout

(from the time of the explosion, not from the time of fallout deposition)

(source: Fallout from a Nuclear Detonation:Description and Management)

Listen, I’m not downplaying the effects! There’s way more to this. Probably the most serious threat is cesium-137, a gamma emitter with a half-life of 30 years. It is readily taken into the blood of animals and humans and may get into the tissue. Other hazards are strontium-90, an electron emitter with a half-life of 28 years.

Another example of the seriousness, besides the obvious immediate deaths within the blast zone, quoted from atomicarchive.com…

Most of the bomb-produced radionuclides decay rapidly. Even so, beyond the blast radius of the exploding weapons there would be areas (“hot spots”) the survivors could not enter. Why? Because of radioactive contamination from long-lived radioactive isotopes like strontium-90 or cesium-137, which can be concentrated through the food chain and incorporated into the body. The damage caused would be internal, with the injurious effects appearing over many years. For the survivors of a nuclear war, this lingering radiation hazard could represent a grave threat for as long as 1 to 5 years after the attack.

It is not my intent to get into all sorts of probable follow-on effects from a nuclear detonation. Rather, I’m simply pointing out the concept of a good gas mask that may help in a temporary way. Perhaps while getting away. Or being within a fallout region that’s outside the red zone.

Tip: A beard, facial hair. It’s a problem. Any face mask will not seal properly. You will be exposed.

[ Read:

US Nuclear Target Map

Nuclear Radiation Shielding Protection

Geiger Counters – Radiation Detector Choices

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24 Comments

  1. Trying to survive in an area that has been radiated by a nuclear blast would probably be the closest thing to hell on earth. However, don’t forget to “Duck and Cover” when you see a nuclear explosion because, though a nuclear blast will completely demolish concrete and steel structures the ultimate blast protection comes from a wooden school desk…..just remember the same government that pushed the “Duck and Cover” PSAs in the 50’s brought you the “Masks and 6 foot distance rule” in 2020. People will eagerly believe a lie that promises security, before they accept the truth of reality.

    1. Realistically, the duck and cover was to prevent bodily damage from airborne debris like flying glass from imploded windows and protect your head and face from the flash, so it had a purpose.
      I know that you know.
      Make fun of it all you want, better alive than perforated/ventilated and blind.

      Better something than nothing.
      Or would you just gaze at the pretty light show after detonation thinking your just fine?

      1. Horse,
        Too bad the 200,000 that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t know about duck and cover and they would have been fine other than a few scratches and burned forearms. If you’re close enough to a blast to be dodging imploding glass, flying debris and radiation burns your most likely gonna be sliced, diced and cooked and surviving will be pure luck that is until the radiation sickness gets you.

        My wife is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist that received her training at Johns Hopkins and after hearing her describe the burns, cancers and extreme radiation sickness that would likely follow a nuclear event you will wish you hadn’t made it.

        1. Oh so you know it all, you go with that.
          Ignorance is bliss right?
          What about the pressure wave/blast/flash effects that can go miles out from epicenter, the reason for duck and cover.

          The area not obliterated but still affected can be miles out from center.
          Part of the reason thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did survive not being in direct sight and shielded from the blast wave.
          Yes, thousands suffered but they lived though can’t say for how long.
          Can’t save the stupid, your the kind of person that claims “I hope the bomb lands on me”
          Then why prep at all?
          Just give up, follow the Gov cheese and enjoy your propaganda.

          But, but, but I herd from someone that herd from the third cousin than knew a victim..

          1. Horse,
            if ignorance is bliss you must be a very happy person. there is no reason for personal attacks on anyone here.

          2. Ken posted a few articles on blast effects.
            Possibly you didn’t bother to read them, Scout?

            I’m going on known facts not fourth or fifth person passed down knowledge.

        2. Scout,
          No big deal. He can’t reinforce his argument so he has nothing left but to revert to attacks and assumptions about me. I’ll take my wife’s first hand knowledge over his the government says so and I believe it rants. 🤣🤣🤣

          1. Your saying relevant knowledge is what, lies?
            Going on your wife’s NON first hand teachings, because it is definitely not first hand knowledge if she had a class on it or it was described to her in detail.
            You believe in CRT? that’s taught in hospitals and police stations too.

            I don’t need to reinforce anything, what you said is like giving up before even trying.
            Duck and cover has it’s place, just like gas masks.
            Like everything else it will work for some and not others.

          2. Horse,
            If you feel the need to duck and cover then by all means do so. It’s obvious that you are very passionate about and truly educated on the subject and if we ever meet after a nuclear exchange I’ll buy you a beer….that is if the bottles haven’t all melted.

          3. Beer, likely a very limited commodity at that point but personally I should still have vodka on hand to share if we live that long.
            Myself being in the prevailing wind pattern that blows over the Minesota nuclear reactors.
            ^ the reason the first things I read up on was about radiation, “the bomb’ and emp all those years ago.

            There’s a drinking tube on/in my asbestos laden gas mask.
            I do need to get decent filters for it at some point, gotta make sure I know the proper size.

            There’s always more to learn, never ending.

      2. The other consideration for “Duck and Cover” is the gamma heating characterized as the bright light directly from the weapon fission yield. It is hot enough to burn the paint off of buildings.
        Next time you see the black and white footage of the nuclear bomb tests on buildings or ships, notice the paint suddenly start to smoke and burn instantaneously coinciding with the detonation, prior to the pressure wave hitting.

  2. A proper fitting gas mask would be the best choice obviously. What about a proper fitting respirator as a second choice. N100? If the radioactive dust is the issue. Goggles included.

    1. Deep South,
      the thing about goggles is that they have to be tight fitting, safety glasses wont cut it. anything, and i mean anything, especially biological’s that get in your eyes will get into your bloodstream as fast as an IV injection.
      don’t believe me, look it up. i learned that in a OSHA 30 hr class and through doing the maintenance of 5 hospitals over the course of 25 years in my before life. i was the poor old plumber.
      you should have seen the look on the patients faces waking up from surgery in the recovery areas when i walked through with the scrubs, cap, and mask on, seeing me carrying a rubber bucket with saws, pipe wrenches, flashlights and other tools in it.
      ya’ll be safe

      1. True enough for bio. I was mainly thinking of the dust and air borne particles from a fall out scenario.

        I guess the patients waking up had a real shock! :)

      2. @ scout, chuckle, I can just imagine what those patients thought when you walked though the recovery room carrying those tools. It was bad enough for me seeing the recovery nurse all dressed in all white scrub clothes when I woke up .

  3. I bought an old model from a store that had military surplus.
    Full face, I think it takes the 40mm screw on filter.
    The sealed filter that came with it is made with real asbestos so you know it’s good!

  4. How long does a filter last?.

    I am prepared with tablets of activated charcoal (absorption) and zeolite ( magnetic).

    1. Skeezix,
      I wore resprtatores for 30+ Year’s for work and we changed filters(and masks) for each job or shift which ever was shorter. If you only had a limited number of filters, I would put a pre filter over the outside of the inlet. Something like a white handkerchief. Then it would be clear how fast it got dirty. With a rad detector you could tell when the filter was ‘loaded’ and change before it got to bad.
      P-100s are paper so if they get wet (soaked) they need changed too.

    2. Skeezix,
      Those are good to have, but get iodine tablets too. They will load your thyroid up so it won’t take any radioactive iodine and prevent you frombecoming an “emitter”. When I worked in the nuclear weapons complex, we would change out respirators weekly, unless there had been a release, in which case we exchanged immediately. When we doffed our “anti-c’s” at the end of shift, the radiation control techs (RCTs) checked us out. ANY detected contaminated clothing or PPE was discarded, you were rechecked. Many times I lost my scrubs and stood in front of everyone near naked getting surveyed again. (It was not a job for a modest person) best respirator was a full- faced PAPR, powered air purifying respirator. Positive pressure, rechargeable, forced air. They can be still found online. Wearing a respirator fir any length of time is exhausting, PAPR relieves that stress with forced filtered air.

      1. For those who do not know the prefixes fir filters:
        The “P” ( in say a P100 filter) means “oil proof”. “R” means oil resistant- one shift use only recommended. “N” means not oil proof. Just another odd bit of info crammed into the back corner of my brain.

      2. Minerjim,

        Also as ken mentioned facial hair is a problem with negative pressure canister respirators. The positive pressure of a PAPR or SCBA respirator can mitigate this to an extent. Still best to be clean shaven if it is a real event. Of course time and distance is the best way to deal with fallout. Hunker down and only go out if you must. Decon is a huge problem too. When you come back in the dust will be all over you. A good survey meter is a must to ensure you are not dusting your shelter with hot particles. Lets hope we never have to test all our gear, and never have to put this discussion into practice.

  5. Consider using engineering controls in those continuously occupied spaces to help minimize exposure. Room filtration HEPA air filters will help remove airborne particulate. All filters will act to concentrate activated particulate and should be handled with gloved hands when changing filters (even vacuum bags). Electrostatic precipitators also work to clean the air and can be cleaned with water and reused. Water misters on air intakes work but are water supply and pressure dependent.

  6. I am 3rd generation Japanese American. After WW-2 our family found out that we lost one branch of the family tree when the Hiroshima Bomb was detonated. (some family members went there to work in a munitions plant during the war). I have gone to several photo exhibits showing people walking among the ruins of the bombed cities. Sobering to know that most of those walking among the ruins were dead within a week of the photo being taken. Many other people that lived after the war were far enough to not be injured by the blast (no need to duck and cover) yet they were close enough that they never were able to have children. The survivors of the black rain have referred to those that were killed in ground zero as the lucky ones. I met a few of them when they were undergoing treatment for cancer. These days, we know more about radiation and its effects on the human body. Much of that research came from medical teams that went to Japan after the war.

    A mask like that would have come in handy during the Portland Riots during the Summer of 2020 not for nuclear so much. In addition to the chemicals from the gas grenades going off, Many of the rioters were torching garbage cans and dumpsters so the air was thick with the smell of burning plastic and styrofoam. Torching of dumpsters was a common theme of riots I have responded to years ago during the Rodney King riots in LA and the San Fran Bay Area. It was never a good feeling driving toward the section of city that is burning.

  7. @ scout, chuckle, I can just imagine what those patients thought when you walked though the recovery room carrying those tools. It was bad enough for me seeing the recovery nurse all dressed in all white scrub clothes when I woke up .

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