*Properly Storing an M-40 Protective Mask*
23 March 2003
Alright, you’re done using your mask for the present time, whether you were using it for training, or (God I Hope Not) using it for real (in which case you need to make sure it is cleaned and decontaminated thoroughly). You want to put it back into its carrying case. There are a couple of reasons that you should make sure you store it properly, if it is stored improperly, it could develop cracks, splits, tears, etc. and those all will cause a non-sealing mask. The first step once you have it off your head is to pull the hood inside out and put the head harness over the front of the mask (inside out as well).
The next thing you’re going to do is put one leg forward (slightly bent) and rest the mask inside down on your thigh.
Once you’ve got it there, you’re going to stretch out the hood, then fold it into a "V" one side at a time. You’re going to take the straps that are hanging down and fold them into the "V" as well.
Now you’re going to fold the hood in half and then fold the remaining half up onto the front of the mask. DO NOT pull the head harness over top of the hood, doing this causes undue wear on the elastic, and that elasticity is one of the things that helps hold your mask tight while you’re moving around. If you lose that, you get a bad seal while moving around (sure, you won’t notice it when you clear and seal your mask, but it will happen even while you’re just walking around).
Once you’ve got the hood folded up, hold your mask in your right hand with the hood away from you and the top of the mask up (as if you were going to put it on, this step is only so you know which way to put it into the carrier, when you get comfortable with storing your mask you will no longer need to hold it up this, you’ll be able to put it in the carrier properly). Now for putting it into the carrier, make sure the carrier is oriented as if you were wearing it on your left hip (Velcro towards you, straps up) and holding the mask the way it’s described above, gently slide the mask into the carrier, make sure that you do not fold the mask while putting it in there.
When it is inside all the way, it should fit a little snug, but it will fit. Then you just close up the carrier and you’re good to go. If you’re not going to be carrying the mask with you, you want to store it in a cool, dry place. Doing so will help prevent mold from growing. Mold can cause much damage to a mask.
Well, there it is, happy storage.
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