The Story: At some point in the course of any big DIY project, you're bound to need some help from family and friends. That moment came for us when it was time to get the house ready for move-in. Think: months of demolition debris, drywall dust, paint spills, and general construction garbage. It was pretty nasty.
A ton of friends and family offered to help, which was amazing. And, fortunately I decided to by a 10-pack of N95 respirator masks, so that everyone who was helping out could do so without risking their health.
The Moment of Truth: My brother-in-law, Alex, bravely volunteered to clean out the fireplace, which was filled with four feet of soot, old insulation, and other junk that had fallen in when we tore out the chimney.
Just before he got started, I said, "Hey, you'd better put one of these on," handing him a respirator. He shrugged, but agreed. Twenty minutes later, the fireplace was cleaned out, and the respiratory was frightfully dirty:
That's all stuff that would've been in Alex's lungs had he chosen not to wear the mask! Scary!
The Lessons Learned:
- Have plenty of safety gear around, especially when you have volunteers on the job. If you only have one or two masks, chances are, someone will end up without one.
- Don't underestimate the ickiness of airborne pollutants! Even a job that seems pretty clean (like vacuuming a job site), can surprise you. Masks are cheap; lungs are not.