It has been over 18 months and unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over, with new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus popping up in all parts of the world. Subsequently, access to effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continues to be the first line of defence.. While it can be difficult to sort through all the available options, the good news is that many companies have met the challenge of developing new and effective types of PPE for the modern healthcare worker.
One such company, 3M, has produced the Versaflo TR-300+ Series Powered Air Purifying Respirators. (PAPR) Providing increased protection over traditional cloth masks and N95 respirators, this series is defined by its powered air system and protection for the entire face. Given the several editions of the TR-300+ Series available, we will be looking at the specific details of four commonly available models today:
3M™ Versaflo™ Easy Clean PAPR Kit TR-300N+ ECK 1 EA/Case
This system is designed for all-in-one respiratory protection. It features a disposable hood to save time for cleaning, and a larger visor to provide a wider field of vision, as well as space to wear your own eyewear underneath. The breathing tube is back-mounted to provide relatively unobstructed movement, and leads down to a TR-3712N HE filter mounted on a belt and designed to filter particulates. It also includes a TR-3600 Pre-Filter. To note, the tube itself can be adjusted for length, and the system features customizable air flow rates. Additionally, the system itself has a battery life of 10-12 hours, sufficient for a full work day, and is integrated with a user interface to provide alerts when the battery level is low—or if the filter is loaded.
3M™ Versaflo™ Heavy Industry PAPR Kit TR-300N+ HIK 1 EA/Case
This model is designed for a harsh environment or a rugged work environment, as its name suggests. Rather than a hood, the system features the M-307 Respiratory Hard Hat Assembly, intended to protect the user’s face and head. Similarly, the back-mounted BT-40 Heavy Duty Breathing Tube is composed of heat-resistant neoprene rubber material, to ensure your air flow is protected. The system has a battery life of 10-12 hours, and employs a TR-3712N HE filter—as well as a TR-3600 Pre-Filter to capture large particles that might otherwise clog the filter. It is belt mounted, and provides gas, particulate, and vapor protection.
3M™ Versaflo™ Healthcare PAPR Kit TR-300N+ HKL, Medium – Large 1 EA/Case
This system is designed with flexibility in mind, while not sacrificing protection. It employs a S-133S dead-cover, described as a ‘loose fitting facepiece’—and features a visor designed for a wider field of view, as well as a shape that wraps around the ears, allowing for easy stethoscope use. Additionally, the system employs a BT-30 Length Adjusting Breathing Tube with a BT-922 Breathing Tube cover, to ensure the system is protected, sanitary, and adaptive to user height. The tube also features a Quick Release Swivel (QRS) to avoid kinks in the breathing tube. It is belt mounted, and features both a TR-3712N HE Filter, and TR-3600 Prefilter, to ensure gas, particulate, and vapor protection. Battery life is 10-12 hours, and the system comes with a TR-971 Airflow Indicator to monitor system functions.
3M™ Versaflo™ Healthcare PAPR Kit TR-300N+ HKS, Small – Medium 1 EA/Case
Similar to that of the TR-300N+ HKL, it uses an S-133S headcover to allow for easy stethoscope use, and employs an enhanced visor design to provide a wider field of view. The breathing tube features a Quick Release Swivel (QRS) and utilizes a BT-922 cover. Like the previous system, this one uses the TR-3712N HE Filter and the TR-3600 Prefilter, ensuring gas, particulate, and vapor protection. Additionally, it allows for two selectable flow rates, 6.5 CFM and 7.2 CFM, to ensure user comfort. The system is belt mounted with 10-12 hours of battery life, and employs both audible and visual alerts to let users know of either low battery or low air flow.
All of the above PPE Systems allow for advanced and effective protection in modern medical environments—and, they are all NIOSH approved for use in the pharmaceutical industry. Given the unique role each system is designed for, it is important to take into account the particular needs of your operating environment, and how each mask would meet those needs, before making a decision on what system is best for you. Always follow proper safety protocols and necessary maintenance, to ensure your PPE System is able to provide the best protection possible.