Where can I find people who wear gas masks?

I’m working on this photography project, and I want to take pictures of people wearing gas masks.

I have no idea where to find such people. Firefighters is the only thing that comes to mind.

I would assume that very few civilians would own one, if it’s even legal. So, I guess the only people who own gas masks work at places or with materials that needs them. What are these careers that require the use of a gas mask?

Military and SWAT-teams come to mind.


Why would it be illegal to own a gas mask? I still have one, somewhere.

Painters and sandblasters use them all the time.

Must it be a military “gas mask”, or would something like a filtration mask/respirator or SCBA apply? Both of the linked examples of personal protective equipment are used throughout the chemical industry.

Yeah, why would it be illegal to own a gas mask? I have one around somewhere, too, which I purchased for a gag at an army surplus store years ago.

I would lean towards “gas mask”, which are used for toxic gases and airborne biological toxins or bacteria.

Which type of scientists would work with one? It would be cool to take pictures of that.

If you’re near a university ask their hazardous waste department.

Many chemical factories have gas masks and people trained in their use; in most cases they’re not worn daily, though. The items Gray Ghost mentioned are gas masks as you defined them, but he’s used the technical names of specific variants.

Back when I worked in a chemical company for five years and got to visit a couple dozen of our factories, I saw what we called “full suits” (dudes would look like a cross between a 19th century diver and a beekeeper), which had air feed tubes and also autonomous tanks; masks with a single cap; masks with two. You may want to see if there are any chemical factories near you and whether it would be best to contact the factory directly or whether you’d have to go through the Corporate Public Relations office.

I work in an engine research lab. The emissions-measuring equipment in the test cells uses bottles of calibration gases, some of which are toxic and/or asphyxiant. These are typically stored in bottle storage rooms that are ventilated. In the event of a power failure that kills the ventilation, some of our staff are trained to use SCBA equipment (back-mounted air tank that feeds a full-face mask via a regulator) to go in and close the valves on all these bottles.

We also have a chemistry lab on site (for fuel/oil analysis, etc.). I’ll wager they also have SCBA equipment.

Chemical companies may not want you to take pictures of what they do behind closed doors; I’d expect a slightly warmer reception at a university chemistry department.


Gas masks are sometimes a bondage/fetish accessory. If you know a place that has latex clothing they might have gas masks also.

These will be strictly the black rubber, scary looking type. No idea whether “costume” masks like this are functional.

I would imagine there are a decent number of civilians who own them. They’re not an uncommon fetish in the kink community.

Yeah, once upon a time I had a picture of my husband in his military uniform and a gas mask. That photo album was caught in the Great Flood, though, so I don’t have that pic. If you have a military base in your city, ask if you can get pics. Or ask at the local police station. It would be nice to offer beer and/or pizza to any offduty personnel who participate in your photo shoot.

Pretty much any army surplus place sells them. Half the punks I know own one - they are often converted for use as bongs.

Good luck with your project. I do feel compelled to point out that “people wearing gas masks” is a common theme in art school photography.

Do you need specific poses or angles? Or do you just want to take the pictures yourself? I have a couple gas masks, and I might be able to help you.
If you pay for shipping both ways, I will let you borrow one of them.

I have one. Unfortunately, I have to keep it sealed, and besides, I don’t think we live near each other.

Sometimes that’s called, or part of, the Environmental Health (Services) Department.

Try at a rendering plant or a slaughterhouse. I’ve seen people where gas masks in both.

People who work in a spray booth at some factories wear them, too.

I’ve also seen employees wear them at sanitation sites. And I’ve seen janitorial crews wear them while shoveling stuff into the insinuator.

I’ve bought a couple on (from) ebay. Arts and crafts, ya know.