A respirator is a protective facepiece, hood or helmet that is designed to protect the wearer against a variety of harmful airborne agents. These can include Air-purifying respirators and Atmosphere-supplying respirators.
Air-purifying respirators have filters, cartridges, or canisters that remove contaminants from the air by passing the ambient air through the air- purifying element before it reaches the user.
Atmosphere-supplying respirators supply clean air directly to the user from a source other than the air surrounding the user.
For those who cannot leave a Smokey area the California Department of Public health recommends the use of a type of air-purifying respirator called a ‘particulate respirator’ with designation of N95 or P100.
Sources: California Department of Public Health. 2008. Protect Your lungs from Wildfire Smoke. Accessed on 9 September 2013. http://www.frames.gov/
US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 2011. Respiratory Protection. Accessed on 9 September 2013. http://www.osha.gov/