S10 Respirator

In 1986 the British Army started replacing the S6 respirator (here) with a new S10 respirator. The S10 is similar to its predecessor in general form, having a side mounted canister, but is a far more sophisticated design and made of a harder rubber than the earlier model:FullSizeRender5The rubber is extremely durable and has a service life of twenty years. The front of the mask is dominated by a large exhale valve which combines a speech diaphragm:FullSizeRender6Note the red fibre disc secured to the front with a split ring, this would have the owners details written on. One innovative feature of this mask was a tube that allowed the soldier to drink whilst wearing the mask:FullSizeRender7This is wrapped around the diaphragm when not in use and could be uncurled and attached to the waterbottle as required:375DrinkingS10_RespiratorA second speech diaphragm is provided on the opposite side to the canister:FullSizeRender8This mask was made by Avon in 2004, the details being moulded into the facepiece:FullSizeRender9The canister uses a standard 40mm thread, allowing any NATO respirator filter with a 40mm standard thread to be fitted to the mask:FullSizeRenderA set of rubber straps are fitted to secure the mask to the head, with adjustors allowing a ‘comfortable’ fit to be achieved:FullSizeRender10The lenses on the mask are flat and secure to the face of the mask with a plastic ring:FullSizeRender2These can be swapped out for prescription lenses or black/red tinted lenses as required. The mask had two different types of canisters; a metal one used for riot control and training and a heavier plastic type that can cope with NBC agents:FullSizeRender1These are supplied in silver vacuum packed units, a spare one being carried in the haversack:FullSizeRender3The back of this canister has a label indicating it was made in 2005:FullSizeRender4The following information about fitting comes from the manufacturer’s website:

Q: How many sizes are the S10 available?

A: There are four sizes available with a six buckle fit allowing quick donning:

Size 1 Large

Size 2 Medium

Size 3 Small

Size 4 Extra Small

Q: How do I make sure I have the right size of S10?

A. Avon can provide you with a sizing tool which helps to assign the right size of mask. Also, as a rule of thumb, your eyes should be at, or just above, the centre line of the eye lenses. Wearers must always conduct a negative pressure fit check prior to use to make sure the mask will seal to the face. Also wearers are advised to conduct a quantitative fit test, at least annually, to confirm the correct face mask size has been selected. Only use a mask if a fit check is satisfactorily completed.

Q: What is the shelf life of the S10?

A: The S10 mask has a 20 year shelf life based on the mask being correctly stored prior to use (instructions on storage are provided upon purchase). Once in use, components subject to ageing (especially valves) must be routinely replaced to maximise useful life. If any deterioration or damage is suspected to any component, replace immediately. See the user manual for component replacement intervals.

Q: Are the filters from old S10 respirators hazardous?

A: The activated charcoal in old S10 respirator canisters, designated L12A1, is impregnated with Chromium, which is a known carcinogen. Fortunately the charcoal is fully contained inside the plastic canister body and presents no hazard if the canister is intact.

These masks have now been phased out in favour of the new General Service Respirator and consequently are easily and cheaply found on the surplus market. They continue to be used by the police and other law enforcement agencies.


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