Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask is truly new and different than all other emergency escape masks. It was designed and manufactured for the fastest possible emergency escape from biological and chemical terror attacks, accidents and natural disasters.

Q: What can the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask protect me from?

A: Biological and chemical terrorist threats, including anthrax, cyanide, sarin, and smallpox. It also provides protection against irritants and toxic substances such as terrorist gases, combat gases, powder/aerosol tear gases, and airborne viruses and bacteria, each alone or in any combination, as may be used by terrorists or as a result of fire or other disasters.

Q: Why does the mask come sealed in a foil bag?

A: The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask is sealed at the factory to keep it at peak effectiveness until the bag is torn open for instant use. Never open the foil bag until the mask is actually needed for use.

Q: How does a POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask go from its sealed foil bag to the face in 6 seconds?

A: The foil bag tears open easily and the folded mask almost unfolds itself in your hands to be instantly worn. The pliable design of the mask material conforms to facial features and the head harness adjusts itself. There are no filters to uncap or screw in; no nose clip or “snorkel type” mouthpiece to grip; and there are only two adjustable straps to tighten.

Q: How do I know if the mask is sealed properly against my face?

A: There is an in-and-out billowing motion of the mask while breathing. The exhaled air is released through the precision one-way exhalation valve causing the mask to billow out. Likewise, when inhaling, the valve is closed against contaminants and the mask pulls in against the face as clean air flows through the filters. If you cannot attain this effect immediately, check the seal of the mask making sure that no hair is between the mask and the face and that the adjustment straps are properly attached to the fabric panels of the head harness.

Q: Why are there two square-framed filters?

A: The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask has two specially designed filters with a large surface area and military grade activated carbon for filtering a high volume of clean air. By allowing a larger amount of air to be filtered (more than most masks, in fact), the POTOMAC accommodates the amount of air you need when running to make a fast escape. The unique filter shape is also part of the very lightweight and compact folded design of the mask.

Q: Can the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask be used on a beard?

A: No. As in the case with military masks as well, beards do not allow proper sealing of the mask against the face.

Q: How do the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask’s eye lenses allow for adequate vision during escape?

A: The optically clear and impact-resistant eye lenses are specially coated to be anti-fogging to maintain vision during escape. The precision framed lenses eliminate distortions found in soft visors and eliminate the weight of rigid visors, both problems common to other types of masks and hoods.

Q: Can I talk to others and use cellular phones while using the mask?

A: Yes. The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask provides clear speech transmission – in person or by phone.

Q: Why is the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask yellow?

A: The mask was specifically designed in yellow so that a first responder or evacuee can be easily seen in an emergency situation.

Q: Can I reuse the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: No. It cannot be reused after the foil bag has been torn open and mask has been used.

Q: How long will the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask provide protection?

A: Like any other military or civilian mask, the amount of time the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask will provide protection varies upon the agent and the concentration level that is used.

Q: How do I know that my POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask is certified for use?

A: The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask is independently laboratory tested by NC-Laboratory Spiez, the Swiss Defense Procurement Agency, by the distinguished TNO Prins Maurits Laboratory, in the Netherlands, by the internationally recognized Miller-Nelson Research Inc. Laboratory, in the U.S.A. and rated and certified in accordance with European Norm (EN) 149:2001 FFP3 and European Norm (EN) 403:1993 HCN, as well as European Conformance Standard CE-Production of the masks is under strict quality controls of DIN ISO-9001, certified by the DQS – a member of IQNET, The International Certification Network.

Q: What are the folded adjustment straps at the bottom of the mask?

A: The two adjustment straps, each folded against themselves, are designed to offer additional support when you run. To use these straps, unfold and extend them to their full length. A light touch to the fabric panels on the top of the head harness provides instant connection. They can also be freely lifted off and reattached to the fabric panels for readjustment or release, according to fit.

Q: Can I run while using the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: Yes. It was designed especially for the extreme exertion of escape and the heavy and rapid breathing needed to go the distance until reaching a safe location. Besides supplying the large amount of filtered air, it is comfortable and does not cause the excessive overheating common to hoods and hooded masks.

Q: What about the elderly or others with me who might have trouble putting on their POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: Experts advise that you must put on your own mask first before helping anyone else put on their masks, even though this might go against your instincts.

Q: What is the proper way to remove the POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask from the face?

A: First release the adjustment straps. Then place the fingertips of one hand under the chin and simply lift the mask up and over the head in a single motion, so that it falls freely behind you. If you suspect a removed mask is contaminated, leave it behind; do not carry it with you.

Q: Can I remove my POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask to eat or drink?

A: No. Wait until you are safely away from the emergency site before removing the mask for any reason.

Q: Where can I purchase a POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: The POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask is sold exclusively by Elmridge Protection Products, LLC through a select group of authorized dealers. You can purchase one directly and securely with major credit cards online at our Internet site or by Fax at 561.244.8339; by mail at Elmridge Protection Products, LLC, 6615 W. Boynton Beach Blvd. # 320, Boynton Beach, FL 33437, or by phone through our USA sales office at 561.244.8337. Shipping is from our warehouses in the USA, or direct from Germany for orders outside the USA. Dealer inquiries, government and corporate buyers, and volume purchasers are welcome.

Q: I live outside the USA and the European Union. Can I order a POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask?

A: Probably. The masks are distributed under export controls of the German Government and the U.S. Government. Unless you are ordering for delivery to a nation identified and listed as prohibited due to its involvement with terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, we can ship your order. It is a serious violation of the law to re-export a POTOMAC Emergency Escape Mask, although travelers may freely carry their own masks for personal use.