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Airline respirators, or supplied air respirators (SAR), are used when air purifying respirators cannot provide sufficient protection against airborne or chemical contaminants. Allegro’s airline respirators provide complete low pressure respiratory protection solutions that include hoods, half masks, air pumps, sandblasting helmets, and other parts and components. We also carry respirator cartridges and respirator kits.
There are many benefits associated with airline respirators. They can provide air when other respiratory protection can’t protect against chemicals or other atmospheric hazards—they provide each worker with their own personal atmosphere bubble in a variety of industries where it isn’t safe to breathe. They’re also a safe choice in situations where the atmosphere’s composition is unknown or known to be very dangerous, like when the concentration of a chemical could be absorbed poorly or not at all by a chemical cartridge or filter. They can work with respirators equipped with full facepieces, helmets, or hoods to protect the eyes and skin against hazards. Unlike Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs), Supplied-Air Respirators (SARs) are lightweight, and the wearer isn’t going to run out of air because they don’t have a tank that can run out of air supply, which makes them suitable for longer work periods.
An airline respirator, also called a supplied-air respirator (SAR), is a piece of respiratory protection equipment used in areas where the atmosphere is too dangerous to breathe normally. These dangers can include oxygen-deficient atmospheres, atmospheres that are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH), and unknown atmospheres—the kind of hazards that N95 masks and other respirators can’t protect against. Airline respirators don’t include tanks, butinstead use a stationary air supply source that’s connected to them directly by a hose, supplying the wearer with clean compressed air. They come in constant-flow or pressure-demand respirator varieties, depending on whether the priority is having a constant stream of fresh air or avoiding air leakage.
You can buy airline adapter respirators at any of your trusted safety equipment dealers or manufacturers. Your airline respirator manufacturer will have all the appropriate adapters, fittings, and other compatible supplies for your unit that are guaranteed to work with the model you’re using. If you’re shopping around for the first time, a safety supply dealer like PK Safety can help answer your questions, make recommendations on a model that would be good for the work you do, and point you in the direction of parts that you might need for future jobs.
Your job doesn’t just end at buying airline adapter respirators, though. Many of these units generally require hands-on training with the specific model being used on the job, and these requirements and regulations might vary depending on your area. You’ll also need to keep a close eye on your airline respirator system and keep it well-maintained. While the mask of an airline respirator system is lower-maintenance than a comparable SCBA mask would be, the air compressors or tanks require more consistent monitoring and maintenance. Improper operation of the air supply machinery can introduce new hazards to the worker who is relying on that air to breathe. The best protective gear in the world can’t protect you if you’re using it improperly, and it can actually make the situation worse. Ensure that you consult experts and get trained on how to use the equipment before the work begins.
Airline respirators use a mask and other hazmat gear attached to a stationary, external air supply outside of the hazardous area. This makes a supplied-air system that’s more lightweight than SCBA units but also tethers the unit and worker to an external air supply. This usually takes the form of air compressors or tanks outside of the work area that are being monitored and maintained while workers are at work.
Airline respirators generally come in either a constant-flow type that provides a steady stream of air, or pressure-demand that provides air only when the wearer inhales and the pressure inside the mask drops. There are 2 main benefits of this positive pressure style; enhanced safety for toxic or IDLH atmospheres, and a lower volume of air required. This demand flow type uses a regulator on the mask that maintains a constant positive pressure within the mask. This ensures that should there be any leaks, the flow of air will not allow contaminants to enter the mask. And while there is a lower amount of air required, it must be provided at higher pressure, usually around 100 psi.
Because there is the risk of the air supply getting cut off if the line is cut or pinched shut (which leaves the wearer without any safe air to breathe), airline respirator users often carry an auxiliary escape cylinder—a small backup air tank that the worker can switch to that will last long enough to escape from the dangerous area during an emergency. In some areas, this backup is a legal requirement on top of being a good idea in general.