Respiratory helmets from PureFlo and Allegro offer full-face respirator protection. The range of respirators, including PAPR and air fed varieties, are amongst the most high-performing, cost-effective respirators available. Particulate respirators and air supplied full face respirators can be configured to exactly match your application. We also carry respirator kits, airline respirators, and Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) systems.
For more information on any of the products listed below, click on their individual links. Remember that our website, blog, and safety experts are available for any questions you have about respiratory helmets or other respiratory protection.
What is a PAPR helmet?
Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) helmets are part of a system designed to deliver clean air to a worker. In general, they’re loose-fitting and usually don’t require fit testing because they don’t seal to the face (although some models are tight-fitting and will require a fit test). PAPR helmets have a hard shell to distribute weight but a slimmer profile and higher heat tolerance than hoods. Some will even have features to allow additions, like welding lenses, or customizations for combining respiratory, head, eye, and face protection, depending on the type of job the helmet will be used for.
In a PAPR system, the headgear covers the head and face and is attached to a breathing tube connected to a filtered air source to protect workers from contaminated air. This system allows clean air to be directed at the worker in a constant flow inside the headgear. The flow of air is welcome compared to a filtering face piece where the user must provide the inhalation muscle.
The air is cleaned by way of filters that remove contaminants and a battery-operated blower that delivers the air. The entire unit is self-contained, often secured by a belt worn by the user. Their assigned protection factor (APF) is higher than filtering face piece respirators like N95s alone. They need to be equipped with the appropriate cartridge, canister, or filter for a given hazard but provide great protection against gases, vapors, and particles.
What is a SAR hood?
Supplied Air Respiratory (SAR) systems include hoods and helmets. Sometimes referred to as airline respirators, they provide a low pressure constant flow of breathable air and are designed to be used in hazardous environments, including urethane paint spraying and foam insulation application, where other respirators, like an N95 mask, provide insufficient protection.
They use a stationary air supply source that’s connected to them directly by a hose, supplying the wearer with a clean flow of breathable compressed air. This does mean that the mobility of the worker is limited, but the amount of air a worker gets in this way is virtually unlimited as long as the compressor is monitored carefully by a coworker outside of the work area.
SAR hoods don’t require fit testing because they’re a looser fit than respirators or face masks. They go over the head and shoulders and have a wide viewing lens in the front for easier working. SAR hoods are designed for long-term use. Air-purifying respirators alone are great protection in hazardous atmospheres, but wearers will eventually experience breathing resistance as the respirator gets too contaminated with airborne hazards. You also need to know what hazards you’re dealing with in order to take advantage of the protection of a respirator. SAR systems do incorporate a filtration system to make sure the air coming from the compressor is clean, and with proper maintenance and cleaning, the air can remain safe for the entire shift (it’s important to monitor for carbon monoxide in particular with the air compressor). These systems are also lightweight, which makes wearing them for a long work period a lot easier than a unit where you might have to carry your own air supply or a ton of other gear.
What is the purpose of a PAPR helmet?
PAPR helmets are very customizable, which makes them a good fit for a variety of workplaces, jobs, and employees. There is a range of headgear, breathing tubes, and blower units available, not to mention the ability to integrate other forms of PPE into the system. Some models allow you to combine your respirator, head, eye, and face protection, along with some communication equipment, which makes the system truly customizable for the particular hazards of your work environment.
A PAPR helmet is a good choice for workers who can’t wear N95 respirators and achieve a proper fit, such as facial hair or other features that would interfere with the seal. They’re also the preferred option for high-risk situations that generate a lot of aerosols or atmospheric contaminants. This makes them a good fit for healthcare procedures because of the risk of respiratory hazards like aerosolized pathogens, and if the unit has a disposable mask, that makes it an even better fit for this application.