The Benefits of Using a CPR Mask

CPR pocket masks have an inflated tube that creates an airtight seal around the nose and mouth to help rescuers give breaths to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. There is a 1-way valve in the nozzle that lets air in and keeps you isolated from the patient's body fluids.

Some think that a CPR pocket mask is a waste of space in a first aid kit because in an emergency mouth-to-mouth resuscitation will work just fine, but personal protective equipment should not be underestimated. During CPR the chest compressions squeeze the stomach, and it’s common for patients to vomit by reflex. CPR pocket masks have a one-way valve that stops vomit, blood, and body fluids in their tracks, keeping your mouth isolated and vomit-free.

For a travel or portable first aid kit, a CPR mask is probably unnecessary, but a foldable plastic barrier sheet takes up almost no space and provides the same function for a single use. Medical professionals and those who have a fully equipped house bag should consider having a CPR mask.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Protects rescuer from body fluids like vomit
  • Covers both the nose and the mouth, so the rescuer doesn't have to pinch the nose during breaths

Cons:

  • Larger than a foldable plastic barrier
  • Not used often

How to Use:

Place the mask over the patient's nose and mouth with the narrow end over the nose. Create an airtight seal by pressing the inflated bag tight to the skin. Tilt the patient's head back using the head-tilt chin lift maneuver to open the airway. Give rescue breaths through the 1-way valve.

Tips:

  1. If you do not have a barrier device and need to perform CPR, compressions only CPR is recommended, especially if you are not trained to give breaths.

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About Peter Oldani - Author of Inside First Aid

About the author

Peter Oldani graduated college with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, worked as an EMT to gain hands on experience in emergency medicine and completed active shooter training as part of New York State’s initiative to prepare civilian organizations for disaster response.