First Look: MIRA’s New Fire Escape Kit

in Authors, Columns, Garrett Negen, Prepping 101
MIRA fire escape kit on gravel gas mask, vk-530

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

MIRA Safety’s Fire Escape Kit is great for those living in wildfire-prone areas or anyone who may face a long escape route in the event of a fire. The kit centers around the new VK-530 smoke filter. This is one of the few filters on the market that protect the user from carbon monoxide. 

General Overview of the Fire Escape Kit

This kit consists of MIRA’s flagship CM-6M gas mask, mask-compatible canteen, drop-leg carrying case, and two VK-530 smoke filters. 

To preface this review I should mention that a few years of volunteer firefighting and a couple of HAZMAT classes have given me a basic understanding of the subject but I am definitely not an expert. Please form your opinions accordingly. 

Of MIRA’s three mask models, the CM-6M is an excellent choice for this kit. Its full-face visor provides a wide eighty-degree field of view with the option to integrate prescription eyewear. 

The mask only comes in one size but it should fit most adults. Its six-point adjustment system allows it to fit a wide range of face sizes and shapes. I have a relatively average-sized head and it fits me quite well.

MIRA CM-6M gas mask on ground

Standard 40mm NATO thread filters can be attached to either the right or left side of the mask. This is a useful feature if you want to use a rifle while wearing a mask. However, the full-face visor makes getting a proper check weld difficult even with the filter on the opposite side. The dual ports could also be used to run two filters at once for greater airflow or to increase the time between filter changes. 

Critical Communication

A few years ago I ran a repair project on an industrial bag house. This piece of equipment is basically a five-story tall vacuum that collects all the smoke and particulate from the plant. All these particles combine to make a mildly toxic dust that is similar in consistency to baby powder. 

When entering the bag house we would wear a full-face respirator and a Tyvek suit. Even more annoying than the dark cramped space and the Tyvek suit that sealed in every ounce of sweat was my inability to clearly communicate with the contractors I was working with. Every sentence sounded more like Charlie Brown’s teacher than anything commonly understandable. We relied on hand signals and singular over-enunciated words for the majority of our communication.  

2 - First Look: MIRA’s New Fire Escape Kit

Unlike the mask I used on that job, the CM-6M has a speech diaphragm that seriously improves the quality of speech through the mask. The inability to effectively communicate on the job site is annoying, to say the least, but in a disaster situation, clear communication is critical. 

The MIRA Canteen

Dehydration is not something you need on your list of problems in an emergency. Thankfully the CM-6M comes with an integrated drinking tube. The tube creates a tight seal with the included canteen so you can stay hydrated even when atmospheric conditions are sub-optimal. 

Carrying Case

The included carrying case is well built and can fit the mask with its canteen and a couple of filters. It comes configured to be worn drop-leg style but I prefer to use the cross-body shoulder strap. 

MIRA gas mask storage bag with and without straps

I removed both of the thigh straps and tucked the belt loop out of the way to reduce the overall bulk of the bag. I figure that if I need the mask I won’t be taking the time to string the case onto my belt and strap it to my leg. 

Smoke Filters

The components that make this a fire escape kit, as opposed to a standard respirator, are the two VK-530 smoke filters. These filters are special because they convert carbon monoxide into much less dangerous carbon dioxide. 

MIRA CM-6M gas mask on ground VK-530 smoke filter

With the majority of fire-related deaths coming from smoke inhalation, avoiding asphyxiation is our goal. Asphyxiation happens by one of two avenues; either by a mechanical or chemical asphyxiant. The mechanical is, as the name implies, something physically keeping oxygen out of your blood ie. choking or drowning but can also include high levels of carbon dioxide, or other heavy gasses, that displaces the oxygen and lead to an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. 

Chemical asphyxiants, like carbon monoxide, are much nastier. As little as 1500 PPM (0.15%) atmosphere of CO is considered immediately dangerous to health. This is because CO binds to the oxygen carriers in your blood and prevents them from operating properly. Once that receptor is filled with CO, it will be hours before it can properly transfer oxygen again. Even if there is plenty of oxygen in the air your body just isn’t able to process it. 

Now understanding both modes of asphyxiation you can see where this filter comes into play. It eliminates the harsh vapors and particles found in smoke as well as the toxic CO. Keep in mind that it won’t do anything to improve an oxygen-deficient environment but it’s your best option unless you have an SCBA lying around. 

While we’re on the subject, I want to encourage you to learn the signs and symptoms of oxygen deficiency as well as CO poisoning. Being able to spot the signs early is often the key to survival. Here is a link to the CDC’s page on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Practical Applications

I always recommend finding opportunities to use your emergency gear in non-emergency situations. For example, you could work a festival first aid station with your medical gear, use your radio to coordinate a charity event, or in this case, use your gas mask as a regular respirator. Using your gear like this will yield more of a return from your expensive equipment and also give you valuable experience with it.

MIRA CM-6M gas mask on ground P3 particulate filter knifeamking

The 40mm filter thread is standard for most modern gas masks so a variety of filters are available for nearly every task. Primarily, I use a P3 particulate filter. This is great for projects around the house or for the sanding and grinding I do while knifemaking. I also have a few NBC-77 SOF filters to protect against a variety of Nuclear Biological and Chemical threats….. Just in case.

MIRA Fire Escape Kit – Conclusion

It may be hard to justify the price of buying a mask for just one purpose but with a few different filters, my mask has become a very versatile tool.

MIRA currently offers the Fire Escape Pro Kit for $350. This is about $120 cheaper than all the components in the kit purchased separately. Keeping that in mind, I’d recommend putting that saved money toward an NBC filter and some particulate filters to unlock the mask’s full potential.

If you would like to read more about MIRA’s products or hear a first-hand HAZMAT story, check out my CM-8M review.

READ MORE: Protect from Particulates, Nuclear & Chemical – MIRA Safety’s CM-8M Gas Mask

*** Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE! ***

Send this to a friend