MAKERS OF THE BEST FACE MASKS & HELMET SHROUDS ON THE PLANET
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: WHAT IS THE HOT SHIELD? IS THERE MORE THAN ONE?
A: When people say “Hot Shield”, they usually mean the HS-2 model, the most popular and best selling model, however we make a variety of facial protection masks, shrouds and fire resistant housings. All of our masks, housings and helmet shrouds protect the users facial areas from heat & flame. However, each model offers differing levels of airborne particulate and respiratory relief. The HS-2 model uses an integral “filter pocket” to allow installation of a low-level N-95 filter. The UB-V2 model does not use or have a filter pocket; it uses a double layer of screening mesh. The HS-4 is designed specifically to fit the Sundstrom SR-100 half face respirator. The HS-5 is designed in the same way for the Draeger brand, Xplore model 3500 half face respirator. Our design is so unique it was granted U.S. Patent # 5,628,308.
Q: WHY WOULD SOMEBODY NEED THIS MUCH PROTECTION? ISN’T THIS “OVERKILL”?
A: Burns are arguably the worst survivable injury a human can sustain. Many firefighters have been overrun by fast moving fires, sustaining severe burns to the face, neck and ears. The PPE most firefighters have used for face & neck protection for years simply did not do enough to protect the skin. The choice of poor PPE often results in inadequate air exchange, 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns and inhalation of of smoke & ash particulate. The face is especially vulnerable and exposed. Should you suffer a facial burn, you cannot easily cover it up, disguise the injury or look the same as you did before the incident.
Some argue that this much protection gives a firefighter a “false sense of security”. We respectfully disagree. Our opinion is that your training should tell you when to go in or leave your environment. Tools and equipment should offer the highest protection level possible when it comes to delicate human skin tissue, which burns at a mere 116 degrees F. Our personal experience in the California Firestorms of 1993 spurred us to invent something to protect our own skin. The Hot Shield lineup serves to reduce these risks in a major way.
Q: HOW DOES THE HOT SHIELD FACE MASKS & HOUSINGS PROTECT ME?
A: In general, our products greatly reduce the risk of burns to your face by the use of highly FR materials combined with our patented design. The outer shell of every Hot Shield mask, shroud or respirator housing is made of super tough & extreme fire resistant CarbonX fabric. CarbonX is an inherently non-flammable fabric that will not burn, melt, drip, ignite, shrink, or char when exposed to direct flame or extreme heat; are highly resistant to molten metal splash, flammable liquids, and certain chemicals. The CarbonX thermal protective properties will not wash out or wear away. CarbonX accomplishes this with less weight than traditional PPE materials.
When exposed to intense heat or flame, the CarbonX fiber blend carbonizes and then expands, eliminating any oxygen content within the fabric, tested to achieve an astonishing Limit of Oxygen rating of 55. CarbonX products combine an extreme level of protection with maximum comfort. They are lightweight, soft to the touch, and flexible, wearing much like cotton. They also breathe well, wick away moisture, and dry quickly, enhancing the wearer’s comfort and productivity and reducing the potential for fatigue and heat stress.
CarbonX was initially developed by a race car driver after he suffered severe burns and is used extensively in that industry in racing suits & gloves. Hot Shield USA has been using CarbonX exclusively since November 2001.
A measure of respiratory relief is created by the physical barriers of twin layers of “mesh” fabric and the integral use of a N-95 filter in the case of the HS-2, or in the case of the HS-4 or HS-5, respiratory protection is accomplished by the specific respirator for which our model is designed. For example, the HS-4 protects the firefighters face and the Sundstrom SR-100 half mask respirator for which it is exclusively designed.
Q: ARE HOT SHIELD MASKS & RESPIRATORY HOUSINGS NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) “APPROVED” OR “CERTIFIED”?
A: Hot Shield USA never claim our masks are “NFPA approved” or “NFPA certified”. An important distinction needs to be made regarding the common expression you may hear “NFPA certified” or “NFPA approved”; NFPA does not approve nor do they certify anything. NFPA do set standards. If a manufacturer desires to advertise their product meets the particular NFPA standard, they send their PPE item to an independent testing lab to be tested to that particular standard. If the item passes ALL of the portions of the standard (not just cherry picking parts of the standard), then the manufacturer can state their PPE item “meets” or “exceeds” the particular standard.
Unlike some companies who feature the NFPA logo in their advertisements, you will never find a NFPA logo anywhere on Hot Shields website, printed or digital communications. We do rightly claim our masks and respirator housings far exceed the performance requirements of found in Standards #1977 (Wildland PPE) and #1971 (Structural PPE), because CarbonX materials have been tested to them. CarbonX is the most inherently thermally resistant fabric in the world.
Q: WHAT ARE THE NFPA STANDARDS PERTINENT TO WILDLAND PPE?
A: NFPA#1977 Standard on Protective Clothing & Equipment for Wildland Firefighting contain requirements for wildland firefighting clothing and equipment, but does not include respirators. #1984 Standard on Respirators for Wildland Fire-Fighting Operations is specific to wildland respiratory protection only. Standards include certifications, inspections, specialized testing, verification of product compliance, labeling requirements, design requirements, performance requirements and specific test methods. Editions are published approximately every five (5) years, Yr 2022 is the latest edition.
Committee and voting members are comprised of dozens of manufacturers but only a handful of firefighters. The Standards actually “define” each specific item of PPE, and further, define a“design requirement”. These constraints necessarily and severely constrain any PPE innovation or design that differs from the Standard(s) regardless if the different design actually can protect the firefighter better.
NFPA TEST REQUIREMENTS & TEST RESULTS ON HOT SHIELD FABRICS
Below are portions of NFPA #1977-2022 Edition (specifically 7.5 “Protective Face/Neck Shroud Item Performance Requirements”). Note the test results of the Hot Shield/CarbonX 2-layer fabric combo are listed in italicized bold print.
CHAPTER 7 - PROTECTIVE GARMENT ITEM PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS.
7.1.1 Garment textile fabrics shall be tested for radiant protective performance as specified in Section 8.2, Radiant Protective Performance (RPP) Test, and shall have an average RPP value of not less than 7. CarbonX RST-75 & C-59 fabric combination layers used in all Hot Shield masks received a tested rating of 11.1. [Exceeds].
7.1.2 Garment textile fabrics, collar linings, winter liners where provided, lettering, and other materials used in garment construction — including but not limited to labels, linings, padding, reinforcements, bindings, hanger loops, emblems, and patches, but excluding hook and pile fasteners, elastic, and interlinings where not in direct contact with the skin — shall be individually tested for resistance to flame as specified in Section 8.3, Flame Resistance Test, and shall not have a char length of more than 100 mm (4 in.) average, shall not have an afterflame of more than 2 seconds average, and shall not melt or drip. CarbonX RST-75 & C-59 fabric combination layers used in all Hot Shield masks received a tested rating of 1” char length & after flame of zero (0) seconds. [Exceeds]
7.1.3 Garment textile fabrics and interlinings, winter liners where provided, and collar linings shall be individually tested for resistance to heat as specified in Section 8.4, Heat and Thermal Shrinkage Resistance Test, and shall not shrink more than 10 percent in any direction. CarbonX RST-75 fabric (Hot Shield outer shell) received a tested rating of -4.3% & -1.5%. CarbonX C-59 fabric (Hot Shield inside liner) received a tested rating of -1.6% & -3.4%. [Exceeds]
7.5 PROTECTIVE FACE/NECK SHROUDS ITEMS PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS
7.5.1 Protective face/neck shroud textile fabrics shall be tested for radiant protective performance as specified in Section 8.2, Radiant Protective Performance (RPP) Test, and shall have an average RPP value of not less than 7. CarbonX RST-75 & C-59 fabric combination layers used in all Hot Shield masks received a tested rating of 11.1 [Exceeds]
7.5.2 Protective face/neck shroud textile fabrics and other materials used in garment construction — including but not limited to labels, linings, padding, reinforcements, and bindings, but excluding hook and pile fasteners, elastic, and interlinings where not in direct contact with the skin—shall be individually tested for resistance to flame as specified in Section 8.3, Flame Resistance Test, shall not have a char length of more than 100 mm (4 in.) average, shall not have an after-flame of more than 2 seconds average, and shall not melt or drip. CarbonX RST-75 & C-59 fabric combination layers used in all Hot Shield masks received a tested rating of 1” char length & after flame of zero (0) seconds. [Exceeds]
7.5.3 Protective face/neck shroud textile fabrics and interlinings shall be individually tested for resistance to heat as specified in Section 8.4, Heat and Thermal Shrinkage Resistance Test, and shall not shrink more than 10 percent in any direction. CarbonX RST-75 fabric (Hot Shield outer shell) received a tested rating of -4.3% & -1.5%. CarbonX C-59 fabric (Hot Shield inside liner) received a tested rating of -1.6% & -3.4%. [Exceeds]
7.5.4 Protective face/neck shroud textile fabrics and interlinings and other materials used in face/neck shroud construction —including but not limited to padding, reinforcements, labels, closures, fasteners, and bindings, but excluding hook and pile fasteners and elastic where not in direct contact with the skin— shall be individually tested for resistance to heat as specified in Section 8.4, Heat and Thermal Shrinkage Resistance Test, and shall not melt, drip, separate, or ignite. In addition, face/neck shroud outer-shell textile fabrics shall not char. CarbonX RST-75 fabric (Hot Shield outer shell) received a tested rating of -4.3% & -1.5%. CarbonX C-59 fabric (Hot Shield inside liner) received a tested rating of -1.6% & -3.4%. [Exceeds]
TESTING DATA MODEL HS-2 WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER FACE MASK
The chart below gives a snapshot of the performance of the two layer fabrics used in Hot Shield HS-2 exceed several critical NFPA #1977 tests, including the RPP (Radiant Protective Performance) ASTM F1939, the TPP (Thermal Protective Performance) ISO 17492, the Flame Resistance (Vertical Flame Test) ASTM D6413, the Cleaning/Shrinkage Resistance Test AA135, and the Seam Breaking Test ASTM 1683.
Q: ARE ANY OF THE HOT SHIELD PRODUCTS RESPIRATORS?
A: No. Respiratory relief is achieved differently for every model. The HS-2 provides a measure of respiratory relief but not a perfect one. It has an integral filter pocket that accommodates any low-level N-95 or P-2 filter. Our replacement filters are steam activated carbon sandwiched by twin layers of cotton media and an exhalation valve. Inexpensive and efficient for the job. The UB-V2 Ultimate Bandanna uses a double layer of CarbonX knit mesh to block large airborne ash particles. The UNI-V2 Ultra Shroud Extreme uses the same concept but in a helmet shroud. However, both of these products cannot remove or obstruct the finer airborne particulate. The HS-4 and HS-5 are masks/housings that fit onto & around two popular well known brands of half face cartridge style respirators (Sundstrom SR-100 & Draeger Xplore 3500), protecting both the face & the respirator itself. In these two product combinations, the user can depend on the filtration data of Sundstrom or Draeger products while having the thermal resistance protection of the Hot Shield.
Q: CAN THE HOT SHIELD PROTECT ME FROM SUPERHEATED AIR?
A: No. Only a positive pressure breathing apparatus can do that! However, in an environment like wildland firefighting operations, where a SCBA is impossible or impractical, the only remaining option is a negative pressure filtration device combined with extreme heat protection....which is exactly what the HS-2, HS-4 & HS-5 can offer.
Q: WHAT FILTERS DO THE MODEL HS-2 COME WITH? CAN I USE MY OWN?
A: If sold in the USA, each packaged HS-2 contains one (1) activated carbon, low-level, N-95 filters. If sold in some countries, customs regulations forbids the inclusion of N-95 filters (Europe for example). These are activated carbon sandwiched by cotton media with an exhalation valve. Inexpensive and fairly efficient. You can use any N-95 filter you wish, or even leave the filter out, although that defeats the purpose). You don't have to buy our use our specific filters necessarily.
Q: ARE YOUR HOT SHIELD MASKS & SHROUDS COMPATIBLE WITH ALL FIRE HELMETS and CAN I USE MY CURRENT SHROUD?
A: Models HS-2 and UB-V2 are “stand-alone” masks that do not interfere with any helmet. Of course, the HS-4 & HS-5 models, combined with their respective half face respirators are completely compatible with any helmet as they are “stand-alone’ (not attached to the helmet). The basic standard shroud made of Nomex based fabric typically will not wrap completely over these four models, but usually will wrap and fasten below the air exchange opening of the HS-2 and UB-V2. We recommend the use of our Ultra Shroud Extreme Helmet Shroud made of CarbonX which allows the user to breathe through two layers of CarbonX knit mesh at the mouth/nose area overlap. The UNI-V2 Ultra Shroud is compatible with nearly every wildland helmet made in the world and we package it with a complete set of fasteners to accomplish this.
Q: ARE THE HOT SHIELDS COMPATIBLE WITH GOGGLES?
A: Low profile goggles with some type of foam work best. We personally like the “Wildcat” goggle because of its low profile with a foam lining. Remember, nearly every goggle wants to occupy the little bit of “real estate” spanning the bridge of your nose up to your forehead. Any type of face mask will need to share this area and “anchor” itself to the bridge of your nose.
We did invent a novel replacement goggle strap that helps out with this. Our Blazer QuikConnect Goggle Strap replaces your existing continuous elastic band goggle strap with one that has a Fas-Tek buckle (like the buckle on any backpack), so that you can put your goggles on without removing your helmet or mask. You can keep your goggles in a separate pouch or in your Web Case (we make it!) so that they stay clean and are ready for use at a moments notice. Several manufacturers have copied our design and we are pleased by the compliment!
Q: WHAT KIND OF MAINTENANCE OR ANY SPECIAL CLEANING PROTOCOLS IS REQUIRED?
A: Hand wash only. Drip dry. Remove any filters and re-install after completely dry.
Q: WHAT LENGTH OF SERVICE CAN I EXPECT TO SEE?
A: With normal firefighter abuse/use, you should not find replacement issues for at least 5-10 years. There is not much to break or tear. We warranty all of our products for one full year. Most of what we see in repairs/returns is simply caused by people not removing the filter before washing, abusing the mask by storing hard tools (pliers, etc) in the same pocket as the mask; which is why we invented the Web Case; to keep your mask clean and easy to access).
HOT SHIELD is a registered trademark of Hot Shield USA, Inc. CarbonX is a registered trademark of Tex Tech Industries HOT SHIELD USA, INC reserves all rights. Material printed herein subject to change without notice.
Check our website for latest updates and for a distributor nearest you. V11.06.2023