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How to Use the S10 NBC Respirator

Updated July 20, 2017

The S10 respirator, manufactured by Avon Protection Systems, was designed for the United Kingdom armed forces for use in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear situations. It can be purchased by the general public from army surplus outlets or direct from the manufacturer's approved distributors. It is an effective "gas mask," and has been designed to be simple and robust. The S10 respirator is manufactured in four sizes; the size number of the respirator is embossed on the inside right of the rubber mask. If the mask does not fit, the respirator will not work.

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  1. Pull the six rubber straps away from the face mask. Position the mask over your chin, and move on to your cheeks and forehead. Position the straps to fit around the back of the head. Spread out the straps evenly from the central rubber section. The underside of your chin, your cheekbones and your forehead should be enclosed by the rubber mask.

  2. Block the canister with the palm of your hand and breathe in to check the air seal of the mask. The mask should not allow any air intake but should "suck" against your face.

  3. Adjust the straps so the mask is not too tight or too loose. It should not move if you move your head from side to side. Remove the mask and lift the T-shaped clasp on the strap. Move the rubber strap in or out. Replace the clasp.

  4. Put the small tube inside the mask into your mouth. Unclip the tube drinking coupler from the underside of the speech module. This can be inserted into the 58-pattern black water bottles used by the British Army. Practice drinking while wearing the mask, holding the water bottle upside down. Replace the drinking coupler. Test whether the canister can be replaced by unscrewing it, and then replacing it several times. Some of these operations are best done with help from another.

  5. Practice putting the mask on within 10 seconds from start to finish. Hold your breath, put on the mask and forcefully breathe out once. This will clear the canister. Continue breathing in the normal way.

  6. Tip

    New canisters are wrapped in vacuum-sealed foil. The canisters are effective for different periods of time in different environments, and only newly opened canisters are guaranteed to be fully effective. To clean the S10 respirator, lift the speech module away and remove the canister and drinking coupler. Immerse the mask in warm water containing a light soap detergent. Swill the respirator in the soapy water, rinse it in water without soap and allow it to drip dry at room temperature.


    Respirators are usually developed to be used with a suite of protection equipment. For instance, a set of protective clothing and decontamination kits are usually necessary in addition to the mask itself. If you intend to use the respirator as personal protection equipment during an emergency, consult governmental or other agencies in your area.

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Things You'll Need

  • Primary speech module
  • Canister
  • Drinking coupler
  • Rubber straps and clasps
  • Polycarbonate eyepieces
  • 58-pattern water bottle

About the Author

Jason Powell

Jason Powell has been a professional writer since 2004 when he began writing on the philosopher Jacques Derrida. He has published two books, both with Continuum. His work has appeared in "Philosophy in Review," where he writes on general philosophical topics. Powell was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy in 2006 by the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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