N95 Respirator in Your Bug Out Bag Yes You Need One

N95 Respirator

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an N95 respirator filters out at least 95 percent of airborne particles. The N95 respirator meets the guidelines as established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (CDC, 2013).

A personal respirator as defined by NIOSH is a device worn on the face and the device must at least cover the mouth and nose. A respirator when worn properly will reduce the users’ risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles such as dust particles, infectious agents, gases, or vapors (NIOSH, 2012).

N95 Respirator Markings

Photo Credit: cdc.gov

One of several types and models of an N95 respirator available and it is important that you know what type you are using and when purchasing one ensure it meets your requirements. You must know the limitations of any protective device you are carrying.

This information is presented for informational purposes only. It should not be considered medical advice it is merely presented to indicate the level of protection you might expect 

Why Carry an N95 Respirator in Your Bug-Out-Bag

Biological attacks are a possibility and if your area, city or community came under attack and agents of this type were used you would have to evacuate the area. Biological agents can be dispersed in various ways and initially you will not have knowledge of the method. You must evacuate quickly before the area is quarantined, and to protect yourself and others you will need a protective mask. You do not want to flee with your family and friends only to spread the disease or contaminates, so wear your N95 respirator as you evacuate the area.

Damage from any natural or manmade disaster will put airborne particles, fumes, liquid aerosols and bacteria into the air. Particles such as mold spoors, glass shards, plaster/sheetrock dust, bits of insulation, smoke and ash and any number of things are left floating in the air after a disaster strikes.

You cannot safely evacuate (bug-out) without respirators, because you simply do not know what you will encounter as you make your way out of the area. Have protection with you so there is one less thing to worry about as you make your way to safety.

Disasters bring people together, and of course, the more people in a confined area the more infectious diseases are spread from person to person. The N95 respirator has been proven effective in helping to prevent the spread of the H1N1virus as well as other infectious diseases to include tuberculosis.

Pandemics can create panic in any community, city, country or even the world. A pandemic can be called a disaster and in some cases, you may feel you would be safer if you evacuate from heavily populated areas. Obviously the less people you meet reduces your exposure to a disease. Having protection if you have to be around others is important so always have a sufficient supply of N95 respirators available for you and every member of your family or group.

The longer a crisis extends the more people become sick from infectious diseases. People are in closer contact in emergency shelters, in lines where emergency supplies are passed out and in ad hoc medical facilities where proper sanitation and other safety procedures cannot be followed. Infectious diseases always follow major disasters.

Make sure you understand how long your N95 respirator will protect you and does a particular contaminate affect the level of protection. When purchasing carefully read all labeling to ensure it states it is an N95, the 95 stands for 95 percent filtration of airborne particulates when the mask is properly fitted to your face. Persons with facial hair are cautioned when using the N95 because the facial hair will not allow the respirator to fit properly.

Seek the advice of your health care professional if you family members with breathing problems before fitting them with any type of facial mask.


CDC. (2013, May 9th). Retrieved 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/n95list1.html

NIOSH. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/RespSource3.html