Behind the Mask
Every responder has one. Every responder needs one. You use it and throw it away. You get another one. How much thought goes into the purchase of a CPR Mask? What are the important facts behind the decision? Brand name, quality, familiarity, price point, and personal preference might be contributing factors. Let’s see if we can help clear up some of the differences between the various masks available.
CPR masks are essentially the same across all manufacturers, but there are differences – some subtle, some major. The basic CPR mask is designed to protect the rescuer and to keep them away from contaminants like blood or other bodily fluids.
The basic CPR mask consists of a rubber-like shell designed to cover the mouth and nose of the victim and a one-way valve with filter. This valve allows for airflow in one direction only, and protects the user from fluids. The mask may have a cushioned outer surface to allow for a better seal on the face. There may be an oxygen barb which allows you to connect a supplemental emergency oxygen cylinder if additional oxygen delivery is needed along with rescue breaths. There are CPR masks which feature a tube whose purpose is to flatten the tongue to help keep the airway open.
There are also several options for transporting and protecting the CPR mask including hard shell cases, soft pouches, tamper evident pouches, waterproof pouches, and simple polyurethane bags. You can even get CPR kits which include gloves and/or antimicrobial wipes. There are masks specifically designed for infants, although an inverted adult mask (with pointed side under the victim’s chin) will also work in a bind. If you are a CPR instructor, there are low-cost training masks available, but these are strictly for training purposes only.
Most masks have replaceable valves with filters. AED Superstore RespondER® brand valves have a 15mm inner dimension and a 22mm outer dimension, which is the standard size for valves used in most masks and BVM (bag valve mask) resuscitators. These valves are inexpensive enough to even use as training valves – buy in bulk and save even more.
AED Superstore has our own RespondER brand of CPR masks as well as masks manufactured by Laerdal, Ambu, LIFE Corporation, Microtek, and WNL. Take a look at our complete selection and call us if you need assistance.