A gas mask is a mask worn on the face to protect the body from airborne pollutants and toxic materials. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and mouth, but may also cover the eyes and other vulnerable soft tissues of the face. Some gas masks are also respirators, though the word gas mask is often used to refer to military equipment (e.g. Field Protective Mask, etc.)
Airborne toxic materials may be gaseous (for example the chlorine gas used in World War I) or particulate (such as many biological warfare/biological agents developed for weapons such as bacteria, viruses and toxins). Many gas masks include protection from both types. Masks generally incorporate filters to stop the toxic materials reaching the wearer.
Usually the gas masks has by default three sizes: 1, 2 and 3, where 3 is large, 2 medium and 1 small (and/or for children's use). This number is printed on the gas mask.
Types of gas mask
There are basically two types of masks: Semi-facial and full face, each with their respective classes. The operation of the gas mask is the same in almost all types and classes. In them there are always at least one entrance and exit of air.
As its name implies, such a mask covers only part of the face (nose and mouth). There are three types: simple filter, double filter and oxygen, the latter used in hospitals (or medical play). Usually the single filter and double are used by Cybers and the like.
Full Face Masks (Full-Face)
These protect the nose, mouth and eyes. This class is split into the filter (Common), PAPR, SAR, SCBA, SCUBA and BDSM, and they may be for civil or military use. PAPR Masks, SCUBA SCBA are very poorly known in BDSM.
PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirators)
This is nothing but a gas mask filter powered by a battery that maintains a constant flow of air into the mask, keeping a positive pressure. The positive pressure serves to prevent entry of harmful elements inside the mask in case of air leakage.
SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus)
It is the "fireman's mask." It's a gas mask with a cylinder of compressed air to breathe. It also maintains positive air pressure and does not use room air for breathing. You can also adapt gas masks filter for this use, despite being unusual. In general they use masks with panoramic lenses.
SAR (Supplied Air Respirator)
Almost identical to the SCBA, the only difference is that the compressed air cylinder or air compressor is far from the user; the device is connected by a long hose and also provides positive pressure in the set. SARs are also called "Air-Line Respirator."
SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus)
"Diving Equipment" used to explore underwater environments. However this article will address only SCUBA equipment that have full face masks. The masks used in Full-Face SCUBA allow the user to breathe through the nose, in turn enabling communication and avoid fatigue of the jaw, because he does not need to be biting the regulator (part used for breathing). It also serves to protect the face against the cold and harmful substances that may exist in the environment where it dives.
These are not included in the official classification. These masks are specially created for a specific practice of BDSM, breathplay, enclosure, etc ... Usually they are modified filter masks, handmade models based on actual or modified latex hoods.
Gas masks in BDSM
The meaning of gas masks in BDSM can vary. It can be for fetish, punishment, rewarding or style. Generally the gas mask is used in combination with a latex outfit. Fetishists may like gas masks because of their shape, breathing sound, mystery look, enclosure, identity privacy, protection feeling, etc... They can also be part of Hazmat or SCUBA fetishism.
Gas masks are very versatile gear in BDSM. They can be used for identity privacy on plays, enclosure punishment together with other bondage equipment, dehumanization / decharacterization or can be used in breathplay to alter the air supply of the wearer. If it covers the eyes and the eye holes are then painted or covered, it makes an effective blindfold.
Most of the masks has a universal filter / hose plug, wich means these parts are interchangeable and can make interesting combinations.
Most gas masks used in BDSM are obsolete models (such as GP5 and Z56 models) that no longer protect from hazards according to international standards. They should only be used for play or showcasing, even if they have a new filter. In BDSM the filter only has an aesthetic function. However, for many fetishists, the use of a filter is essential as it completes the mask.
Safety is very important when gas masks are used for breathplay.
Care must be taken in any form of edgeplay and breathplay is no exception. Restriction of a person's air supply can result in injury or death. Certain older gas mask filters contain asbestos. Some second-hand gas masks previously used in military or industrial settings may be contaminated with noxious chemical or radioactive substances.
Gas mask care
Like any other latex / rubber gear, gas masks must be cared for. Although most masks are designed for heavy duty use, they can deteriorate through time if not cared for properly.
Most gas masks can be submerged underwater, but only the mask. If you submerge a gas mask with a filter, the water will clog the charcoal and the filter will be useless.
These masks have to be sanitised each time you use them because of the acid or salty sweat. Basically you can clean it up using water and soap with a soft cloth. It can be lubricated with silicone monthly, it also gives a shiny look. You must not use anything containing a petroleum derivative, because it literally dissolves the rubber. It is also useful to clean, and spray some anti-fogging solution on, the lenses.
Common types of gas mask
Below are shown the most common models used in BDSM.
|Dräger Simplex (Aka Israeli civilian issue, Aka Shalom)
Common in the BDSM scene. These masks were easily found in army surplus stores but since the Gulf wars are a little hard to find. They come in three sizes: Large, medium and small for children. The first generation didn't have drinking facilities; only recent versions (3rd generation) have included a drinking attachment. There are also special modified versions for BDSM use, such as hoods or rebreathers. This is one of the few that are still fully functional. Due to its clean lines and simple design, it's nice for feminine use.
|GP-5 (Aka Russian hood masks)
The most common gas mask in BDSM. Those masks were built for civilian use in the Cold War, but today it's useless due to NATO standards. That's why there are so many available for BDSM use. These come in two colours (black or light grey) and several styles, including those customised for BDSM. The standard issue has a hose connecting the mask to a separate filter. It also has clean lines and design and also suitable for women; it also has a plus feature for enclosure because of the hood design.
|Avon S10 (Aka British Gas Mask)
Usually issued to the British SAS and army. The mask has two filter entrances, but only one filter is mounted on one side. These two filter entrances make it suitable for both left-handed and right-handed soldiers. Generally a male mask because of its bulkiness, but it has a nice fit for dommes.
|Avon S6 (Aka British Gas Mask)
Was in service in the British SAS and army. This is the father of S10 gas mask. The filter has only one side.
|Dräger Z56 (Aka Medical Gas Mask)
Gas mask from the 1960s for civilian use and only produced in one colour: white. This mask is often used in BDSM for medical play scenes due to its white colour.
|C3 (Aka Canadian Gas mask)
Canadian gas mask. Sometimes used for BDSM scenes. This mask resembles the C6 "Civilian Duty" mask used in World War II. This is usually a small/compact mask compared to others; it's suitable for small submissive women.
Bulkier standard American issue mask. There are two filters mounted in both cheeks. It usually is for male use, due its bulkiness.
|ShMS Gas mask
Another obsolete gas mask used by Russian police forces. It has two colour options: white or black, and has optical lenses support for those who need glasses. This mask somewhat resembles a human skull and is usually used for terror or fear games. It also come with a filter and a hose. Due to its fear look, it is generally used by dominants.
|PBF Gas mask
Another obsolete Russian gas mask used by the military. It also has two colour option (white or black) and its filter is attached inside the mask on the cheek area. It doesn't have a universal filter mount.
- Gas mask at Wikipedia.
- GasMask Encyclopedia GasMask Encyclopedia by GasMask
- Le Masque à Gaz International historical gas mask gallery, with collection of safety and propaganda posters.
- GasMask BDSM GasMask BDSM site.
- The Invention of the Gas Mask.
- What you should know about gas masks.
- How Stuff Works - Gas Masks.