Why is Alpaca fibre used in the filters?Alpaca is a natural fibre that is highly fire resistant yet doesn't irritate the skin. Alpaca is quite different to wool in that it does not have protruding scales along the fibres which with wool can irritate the skin and also causes piling. Alpaca is also water resistant so perspiration won't penetrate the filter reducing the filtration efficiency and instead will run down face keeping you cool). The specially developed non-woven alpaca material (we called Pacastat) allows easy breathing and sits in among facial hair to ensure no leakage.
How long will filters last?It is common for the filters to last twelve hours on the fireground, even in dusty conditions. Just tap off any external excess when having a drink break. We suggest they are washed after daily use. You can expect them to last for years just with simple hand washing. Just be sure to keep them from your dog - we've had four cases of "the dog ate it" so far...
Can I talk with it on?The Fair Air fire mask provides minimal interference to speech so talking on the radio etc is no problem while wearing the mask. At the prolonged campaigns such as the massive Fort McMurray fire in Canada, firefighters were even sleeping in their masks.
Which way is up?The label should be right way up and there are labels and/or stamps showing ^^TOP^^. Also the wire that holds the mask to the shape of the nose can be felt inside the top edge. It helps to bend this before putting the mask on to help position it prior to fastening the Velcro.
Will it interfere with my goggles/ glasses?Fitted properly with the internal wire formed across the nose, you won't have issues with glasses or goggles fogging up as the exhaled air follows the course of least resistance - back through the filter.
Where are the Fair Air masks made?The Fair Air fire mask is made in Victoria, Australia. The core component of the filters, the needled alpaca material is made by the CSIRO in Geelong and the FR cotton material used on the holders for the binding is made in Wangaratta. The FR cotton eyelet material for the holders will soon be made by a Geelong company. The elastic is specially made in Melbourne. Final manufacture and packing of the masks is done in various regional towns in Victoria and NSW and expanding to other states and possibly overseas. We are currently looking to employ displaced Ukrainians to make the masks here and potentially back in Ukraine when the war is won.
Have there been any enhancements recently?Yes.The face side of the filters now has an improved needled alpaca material (Pacastat) needled onto a very fine, woven material which keeps the alpaca fibres in the filter yet still providing the comfort of alpaca on the skin. Tests for the ISO 9151 standard now show that the new filters take well over a minute to rise 24C when exposed to 600+C flame compared to the original 33 seconds! This international standard requires only 17 seconds. No other respirator has passed this test. We have developed a way to also improve filtration by removing carbon monoxide. We plan to have this new version in production before the end of the year. We anticipate that then the mask will gain certification to NFPA Standard 1984 for Respitory Protection for Wildfire Firefighting Operations. IT WILL BE THE FIRST!
Farmers and many other professionals are finding the Fair Air fire mask to be the best respiratory protection against dusts, asbestos, pollen etc.
Welders find that it easily fits under their welding helmet.
Plasterers find it effective at stopping them breathing in plaster dust when sanding.
Also used in recycling centres, by asthmatics, etc.