Updated on 19 October, 2021
Before using your new mask, it's a good idea to fit it and make sure there is no leak. The fit is important because it allows you to breathe easier when wearing your mask. It can prevent irritations from happening to you as well. If you think there may be a problem with the fit, do not use your mask until you have the fit tested by an experienced professional.
A respirator fit testing is a test performed to determine whether or not the seal is properly sealed. An individual must first do a fit test with just any old respirator that they will be wearing prior to first use. It should be only done after receiving medical approval. ( Note: Some masks are designed specifically for some people and may need to be fitted differently, depending upon your particular needs.)
A respirators fit test kit includes an instructional DVD that demonstrates how to do the test correctly. The instructional DVD contains instructions for the type of respirators that you will need, as well as tips on how to maintain the equipment and protect yourself from irritations. The kit includes everything that you need to conduct a test. The DVD shows you exactly what to do and where to place the disposable masks while you do the test. You will also receive instructions on how to use the potentiometers, so you can test both your mask filter at the same time.
The fit test kit includes a plastic cup for each individual respirator, a disposable needle with a tap and two syringes, and an instructional manual. The instructional manual tells you how to prepare the disposable masks and provide you with helpful tips for ensuring that the test solutions are correctly administered and that the mask is properly attached to the syringe and the nozzle. The kit also contains special cleaning agents that you need to use in order to make the test solution easier to remove.
You need to use the disposable syringes for all your fit testing. The reusable needles are only used one time and then need to be discarded. You should dispose of the unused portion of the disposable syringe in a safe manner, as the aerosol propellant may cause irritation to your eyes.
A face mask is one of the most important pieces of your overall respiratory safety device. When you conduct the respirator fit test, you want to check that it fits properly. It should not be too tight as you will not be able to breathe through it, nor should it be too loose since you could be getting too much air flow through it and create a false positive. The fit testing should include three areas: the chin area, behind the ears, and in the nose.
When you do the respirators fit testing, there are several things to look at. First, you will notice there are two different sizes of N95 respirators. The larger sizes are more expensive than the smaller ones. The reason for this is because you will have to pay more to get the N95 particles to stay in the airway. If you have a small N95 respirator then you might have trouble breathing while doing the other two portions of the test.
Once you've concluded that the respiratory devices you have are working properly then you can move on to the next step which is the quantitative fit test. During the quantitative respirator fit test you will place your finger inside the mask and push a few metal buttons to release the air. The air is breathed in by your finger and analyzed to determine the percentage of air that is trapped inside the mask. This test is used to make sure the particular brand you are using is truly the best one to use. You can compare the percentage of trapped air with other brands if you want to get an idea of how well your equipment performs.