For those wishing to keep every safeguard in place in the event of a chemical attack, gas masks are a must. While they can be purchased at many Army surplus stores, some different styles of gas masks can be made using a few household items.
Homemade gas masks
Homemade gas masks are, of course, only a temporary solution that will not be as effective as commercially made gas masks. However, they are better than using a simple towel pressed against your face. Homemade masks will, most likely, only protect against the most common gases used in chemical warfare. Against smoke, illuminating gas and carbon monoxide, they will be ineffective. Moreover, homemade masks will only be as effective as they are airtight. Your homemade mask must fit securely around the head so that air is unable to slip inside (except through the breathing canister) or else chemical agents can also get through.
Swimming Cap Gas Mask
Homemade gas masks can be constructed with household items. Use a swimming cap, oriented backwards and upside down, for the face covering. You'll cut holes in the cap for both an eyepiece and for the breathing canister apparatus. Secure these pieces with tape. For the eyepiece, use a see-through, celluloid box, the sort used in women's facial powder boxes. For a snug fit, the cut hole should be slightly smaller than the box. For the breathing canister use a can with both the top and bottom cut out. Over both ends of the open can you'll fit wire screen mesh. Old fashioned, wire-screen flyswatters will work, but you can also use screen door material. Inside the canister you'll need the actual gas mask filter. For this use handkerchiefs stuffed with charcoal and soda lime. With elastic, create straps across the back of the mask to hold it onto your head.
Bed Sheet Gas Mask
Cross-stitch together two 12-inch squares of bed sheets or similar fabric. Put a lawyer of baking soda between the two sheets before sewing them together. When you need the mask, simply dampen it and hold it firmly over your face while exiting the area contaminated by gases. This provides temporary protection and is not intended for any lengthy use.
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