Wildfires in the Northern San Francisco Bay area are raging. Many folks have lost their homes, and people all over the bay area are being affected by the smoke. Lightning Bolt is raising money to purchase P95-P100* masks for The Village and Feed the People in Oakland to distribute to houseless folks all over town. Everything donated here before NOON FRIDAY will go toward purchasing P95-P100 masks that will reach people over the next few days. THANK YOU!
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*UPDATE: We were initially going to purchase N95 masks. N95 is promoted as a mask that is adequate for wildfires, However, as we learned more about different kinds of masks, we realized that N95 masks are not going to be very effective at protecting people from what’s in the air. It’s not just particulates from wood that are in the air. Whole houses, whole cars are burning. That’s a lot of petroleum going up in smoke, and that is what we are breathing. So we have decided to purchase P level masks to distribute.
From Bayanihan Guevara:
⚠️ A Quick Breakdown of Respirator Ratings ⚠️
— N, R, or P indicates the resistance to oils.
N = “N”ot resistant to oils
R = somewhat “R”esistant to oils
P = strongly resistant (oil “P”roof)
This is IMPORTANT because for N and R rated masks, oils can degrade the filter’s performance and prevent it from filtering properly.
Remember that it’s not just trees burning, it’s thousands of cars and buildings and houses full of stuff and farmland. When you read “oils” think “petrochemicals.” Petroleum is not just used for fuel. One 42 gallon barrel of oil creates only 19 gallons of gasoline, over half the barrel is used to make other common products, many of which are very harmful to your health when inhaled or burned.This includes stuff like plastics, synthetic rubbers and fibers, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, solvents, perfumes, explosives, building materials such as flooring and insulation, and more.
— 95, 99, or 100 indicates the percentage of particles that it will filter.
95 = removes 95% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
99 = removes 99% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
100 = removes 99.97% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter. HEPA quality filter.
Also, disposable masks are only recommended for short-term, temporary use, and they do not offer a tight enough seal for long-term protection from air quality disasters. These fires could rage for weeks and cause health issues that last the rest of your life. People need to get durable, reusable respirators and order multiple packs of filters so the filters can be replaced when they eventually get clogged and harder to breathe through.
If you can afford a few extra dollars for a better mask, it is so worth it to protect your lungs.
For those who are handing out free masks to people who can’t afford them, please consider getting P-rated masks and also letting people know a little bit about what masks are helpful and how often they need to be replaced to be effective.