If you are facing a chemical spill or airborne contamination, a hazmat suit will help minimize your exposure to threats in the environment.
Read on to learn more about the different kinds of hazmat suits and when to use them. (h/t to UrbanSurvivalSite.com)
A hazardous material or hazmat suit is a sealed garment designed to provide protection against different dangerous substances. It is also often called personal protective equipment (PPE) and is required in environments that will expose you to adverse conditions.
People in law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, specialists and those who work in toxic environments often use hazmat suits.
There are different grades of suits that guard against different types of substances. Extensive training is provided to those who wear hazmat suits due to the complexity and caution associated with them. (Related: CBRN defense and preparedness: How to be ready for a nuclear emergency.)
Hazmat suits are broken down into individual parts that are sealed together to form a barrier for the wearer.
The different pieces of a hazmat suit include:
The individual pieces of a hazmat suit are usually made of plastic, rubber and technical fabrics designed to form what is essentially a piece of modern armor. An independent oxygen supply is provided for the wearer and the suit is impervious to the outside environment.
The different grades of hazmat suits affect what you are protected against. Simpler suits can easily be worn on your own, but more advanced suits may require several people to help you put it together.
Hazmat suit manufacturers are required to follow the strict guidelines outlined by the various disaster and medical entities that govern the regulations.
Hazmat suits can help protect you against nuclear radiation, chemical substances (liquid and gaseous) and high temperatures, including fire. They help protect the sensitive areas of your body, like your eyes and lungs, from contamination.
Additionally, hazmat suits are sealed at the seams to protect against gaseous compounds. Each hazmat suit has its own rating so you must get the right one for the job.
Radiation exposure affects you in two ways: irradiation and contamination.
Irradiation occurs when your body absorbs radiation from the environment. Fortunately, there are materials that can help prevent this with special shielding using lead or iridium.
Meanwhile, contamination refers to when your body is exposed to radioactive particles in the environment. This is bad, especially if you inhale some of the matter. In this case, you need an air filter.
Hazmat suits also help prevent you from transmitting the particles you are exposed to and contaminating the areas you are in.
Note that the combination of metal shielding and high-quality air filtration that will lessen the effects of radiation exposure in specialized suits can get quite expensive.
Firefighters usually wear hazmat suits meant for fire protection since when they are in a burning building, they are exposed to toxic chemicals in the air which can impair respiratory function.
Full coverage is also important since corrosive chemicals and fire can harm firefighters if their skin is exposed. Their suits come with an anti-fog mask and an oxygen tank.
Fire-retardant chemicals and materials are applied to the suit to ensure that a fire will not catch while they are dealing with fires. These protective chemicals and materials can also act as a temperature barrier since the environment is hotter than normal.
The U.S. follows a different regulatory system when it comes to the levels of protection that hazmat suits are identified by. In America, there is a letter grading system from A to D while in Europe a numbering system (Levels 1-6) is used.
Level A hazardous material suits completely enclose the wearer from the environment and comes with a respirator. Level D is technically not a hazmat suit, but it requires PPE to protect the eyes and body, like a pair of glasses and an apron.
Here are the four different kinds of hazmat suits used in the United States:
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global body that aims to eliminate death by hazardous conditions.
The NFPA is responsible for public education and standards used concerning hazmat situations. The association's codes are designed to minimize workplace risks.
The NFPA created emergency response levels to help differentiate between hazmat scenarios. These levels also help people identify what equipment is needed for a specific scenario.
The three levels in the emergency response system vary in severity and equipment needed:
These scenarios help guide experts so they can quickly gather the resources needed.
Before selecting the right hazmat suit for you, you must understand the task that you need it for.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before choosing a hazmat suit when SHTF:
Once you have your criteria established, choose the appropriate kind of hazmat suit.
Hazmat suit colors
Hazmat suits come in different colors and each color represents a code. It can also help identify the level of danger within the area.
Stock up on the appropriate kind of hazmat suit before disaster strikes so you can protect yourself and your family from various threats like toxic chemicals, poisonous gases or a nuclear attack.
Watch the video below to know more about must-have survival gear for outdoor use.
This video is from the Cahlen channel on Brighteon.com.