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NEWS | May 6, 2008

ATSO tip: How should Airmen care for protective mask?

By 437th Mission Support Group 437th Mission Support Group

With our ever steady mission and constant workload, the August operational readiness inspection will be upon us before we know it. Within the wing, squadrons and flights are busy preparing their people and equipment for their part in the ORI.

One of the most important items of any ORI is the ability to survive and operate. As the single largest inspectable item, ATSO is 40% of the wing's overall grade. Getting into a mobility and readiness mindset and preparing now are the only answers.

The following are inspectable as part of the ATSO mission essential task listing:

· Individuals must perform inspection and maintenance of personal protective equipment including protective mask and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense equipment.
· They must have completed and properly initialed DD Form 1574, Serviceable Tag. Airmen assigned to a standard deployable unit tasking code (D-coded), must have proof of a gas mask fit test (after May 2005 or within 40 months of the ORI).
· Protective mask must be serviceable with no defects and head harness adjusted to fit individual.
· Demonstrate inspection procedures using Air Force Manual 10-100, when requested by inspector general.

The Airman's Manual, Section 6, Page 206, covers each step of the mask inspection thoroughly. Getting familiar with these procedures and the Airman's Manual is essential to a successful ORI. All units should conduct protective mask inspections this quarter. It will ensure everyone has the required paperwork properly filled out and that Airmen know where to locate the information. Remember, cleaning is part of the inspection. Once the inspections have been completed, documentation on the DD Form 1574 is required. Proper documentation on DD Form 1574 can be found in AFMAN 10-100, Page 212.

Cleaning Procedures according to T.O.14P4-15-1 are as follows:

· Remove the head harness, canister (set in a clean, dry place and don't get it wet), face shield, drinking tube from its holder in the outlet valve cover and outlet valve cover.
· Immerse the mask in mild, soapy, warm (NOT boiling) water.
· Lift up the outer rim of the outlet valve and remove any debris stuck in the openings between the spokes, and scrub the outlet valve to remove any dirt or corrosion.
· Turn the inner flap that runs along the inside rim of the mask over and gently scrub this area loosening all debris.
· Gently scrub the entire surface of both sides of the nose cup and beneath, being careful not to damage the nose cup or nose cup valves.
· Completely immerse mask and agitate around in the solution being careful not to scratch or damage any of the mask surfaces.
· Rinse the mask twice in warm water.
· Connect a canteen to the drinking tube and flush it with warm water.
· Test the drinking system to ensure it is functioning properly. If leaks are detected, flush until the valve functions properly or replace the outer drinking tube and retest.
· Air dry or use a lint-free cloth to gently wipe the mask and all parts dry.
· Inspect the mask to be sure there is no hair, lint or other fibers on the mask or associated part surfaces.

One last note: inspect the mask every seven days in a wartime environment. Contact Staff Sgt. Sarah Winberry at 963-5333 if there are any questions.