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.

US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 2011. Respiratory Protection. Accessed on 9 September 2013.