How Do You Use a Pocket Face Mask Correctly?

When Covid-19 came into our lives and predominantly changed our daily routine, we were encouraged to wear face masks to protect ourselves and others. Various face masks have different levels and kinds of protection.

But what is a pocket face mask? Can we use it daily when we go for a walk, or is it that kind of mask that patients in a hospital use? This blog will discuss what a pocket mask is and why it is important.

What is a pocket face mask?

A pocket mask is a small portable device used in the pre-hospital setting to provide adequate ventilation to a patient in respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. It is designed to be placed over the patient’s face, creating a seal enclosing the mouth and nose.

An emergency responder then administers air. The emergency responder exhales through a one-way filter valve, providing adequate ventilation to the patient. The emergency responder can deliver up to 16% oxygen with their breath. 

Modern pocket masks have either a built-in one-way valve or an attachable, disposable filter to protect the emergency responder from the patient's potentially infectious bodily substances, such as vomit or blood.

Who uses pocket face masks?

Pocket masks are frequently used by ambulance crews and in hospital emergency rooms. Since there is an outside chance of the need for positive air pressure ventilation in workplace accidents or other medical situations, employers should include this piece of equipment in first-aid kits to limit the chance of pathogen transfer between patient and first-aider or first-aider and patient.

It does have its advantages when only one rescuer is available. As suggested by its name, the pocket mask benefits from somewhat easier portability when compared to the bag valve mask. Also, in contrast to the bag valve mask, which requires two hands to operate (one to form a seal and the other to squeeze the bag), the pocket mask allows both of the rescuer's hands to be on the patient's head.

How do you use a pocket mask correctly?

During this pandemic season, the pocket mask is the most effective barrier device that prevents the casualty's exhaled air from being inhaled by the rescuer. Follow these steps to use pocket masks correctly:

  • Kneel at the side of the casualty's head, and place the pocket mask on the casualty's face with the base of the mask settled between the casualty's chin and lower lip.
  • If the mask is fitted with a retaining strap, secure it in place by placing the strap behind the casualty's head. This doesn't create a seal. Be quick to remove it should the casualty vomit.
  • Gently put your hand nearest to the casualty's head on their forehead, making a 'C' shape with your thumb and index finger on the pocket mask creating a seal.
  • Place your other thumb and index finger on the pocket at the casualty's chin creating a seal.
  • Tilt the head back to open the airway using the fingers of the second hand to give a chin lift.
  • Blow slowly into the inlet until you see the chest rise. Remember, each breath should take about 1 second.Blow slowly into the inlet until you see the chest rise. Remember, each breath should take about 1 second.
  • Remove your mouth and allow the casualty to exhale.
  • Move immediately to 30 chest compressions.

Watch this video demonstration on how to use a pocket face mask correctly.

What are the pros and cons of using a pocket face mask?

These are some of the advantages of using a pocket mask:

  • When resuscitating using a pocket mask, the risk of transfer of infection from casualty to rescuer (or rescuer to casualty) is very low, and training in the use of pocket masks is important, especially for those with a duty to respond.
  • It is collapsible to fit easily into a coat pocket and, therefore, portable and accessible.
  • Pocket masks have a one-way valve that stops vomit, blood, and body fluids in their tracks, keeping your mouth isolated and vomit-free.
  • Protects rescuers from body fluids like vomit.
  • It covers the nose and the mouth, so the rescuer doesn't have to pinch the nose during breaths.
  • Most masks are transparent, allowing blood and vomit to be seen.

Its disadvantages include:

  • It is larger than a foldable plastic barrier.
  • It is not used often.

How do you store and clean pocket face masks?

To clean and disinfect pocket masks:

  • Wash in warm soapy water.
  • Rinse in clean water.
  • Submerge for 10 minutes in a 1/64 household bleach/clean water solution.
  • Rinse again.
  • Allow drying.
  • Do not boil or autoclave masks or valves.
  • If the mask becomes sticky, clean it as described above.

To store mask:

  • Remove the valve.
  • Collapse mask (hold mask with both hands and collapse dome)
  • Place the mask with the port facing up in a storage container, with the valve on top of the collapsed mask.

Where can I find online training courses on how to use a pocket mask?

The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited statutory and mandatory training courses for all sectors, including health and social care, education, local government, private companies, charitable and third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpful Support Team byclicking hereto tell us your more about online training courses using a pocket mask.

Online first aid training courses, qualifications, and programmes 

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Frequently asked questions and answers online training courses for pocket mask

Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many questions about the statutory and mandatory training courses for pocket mask. We have selected a few of these questions and answered them below.

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Free Basic Life Support online course - The Mandatory Training Group UK

How do you use a pocket face mask correctly? - The Mandatory Training Group UK.

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