Prep for fume event?

Hi all,

This is my first post to the TP forum, though I’ve been diving into all the great resources since I discovered the site earlier this year. 

Stephanie Arnold brought up in her update for December 17 the notion of “fume events” in which faulty seals result in toxic fumes entering into the main cabin. The article to which she referenced described pilots passing out and passengers/crew complaining of long-lasting side effects. I had no idea 1) that air was drawn from engine exhaust into the cabin after being scrubbed for toxins or that 2) this air could turn toxic with equipment malfunction. According to the article she references, 2019 saw 362 “fume events” although there are likely more that go unreported.

My question is as follows: would you all consider it a reasonable prep to invest in face masks with the potential to filter out carbon monoxide and other potential toxins? Would bringing such an item as a carry-on even be allowed? More practically, with 3 young children traveling in tow, has anyone looked into functioning masks (or hoods) for kids that would provide a sufficient seal to keep them from breathing all that nasty stuff in?

Thanks all!


  • Comments (2)

    • 9

      Hi Marshall, thanks for posting! Those are really good questions.

      We do indeed think that face masks/respirators are an important prep, so much so that we’ve included them in both our BOB and home medical supplies lists. Here are the link in case you want to check them out: Emergency kit / bug out bag list and Home medical supplies list.

      We also wrote an extensive guide on face maks and respirators, how they work, what to look for when buying one, as well as some option for children here (in short, children are limited for options): Best gas masks and respirators for survival.

      My understanding is that smoke escape hoods, or respirators and filters combos that are supposed to screen you against fires might help a little against carbon monoxide. However, I can’t find a lot of evidence to support that they provide absolute protection. In fact, there are studies that actually prove the opposite (and if I’m wrong, I’m more than happy to stand corrected).

      The only products I found that are supposed to offer absolute protection are the so-called “Supplied Air Respirators”, which means that you need a special hood connected to an air compressor, and that seems to be something too expensive and impractical to be carrying on a plane for a few hours of a trip.

      My personal opinion is that, although fume poisoning is a real risk, especially for cabin and crew members who spend all day on an airplane, is also something that doesn’t happen too often to most people and thus is not worth worrying too much about it, especially since there isn’t really a good portable and cheap solution to it. Wdyt?

    • 5


      Marshall, it’s a reasonable prep for most events less civil aircraft travel with 3 young kids.  Yes, had researched this subject and use mask featured in above link by ILC, the famous astronaut space suit company in Delaware.

      Some preboarding airport overseas arrangements prohibit carry-on sophisticated masks.  With 3 children, masks not appropriate.  Think of pre-pandemic and what evolves later after we finish this global event: unknown for now. A summary via an example: a successful “crash landing” at an airport allows for ~ 100 seconds to evacuate the aircraft. 

      Carlotta mentioned a quality aspect of masks.

      Less the scheduled airline travel, there are specifics that must be considered for selection of a mask.  I need a hooded mask that allows for wearing a hard hat.  I must be able to talk. Affordable cost also on list.  The linked SCape product is premier. It is expensive when compared to masks with less features.  

      Reasonable preparedness does require evac research that addresses the dangerous gases. US airline safety involving the major carriers addresses passenger safety and so far the cabin provided “drop-down” (nicknamed “plastic jungle [think of vines in a tropical jungle scene]) mask meets FAA requirements….as of now.