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Offbeat Hawaii's Big Island residents frantically searching for masks the government says they don't need

02:55  14 may  2018
02:55  14 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

As the ground opened, a teary Hawaii resident bid his home a final farewell

  As the ground opened, a teary Hawaii resident bid his home a final farewell Steve Gebbie, 56, is among the hundreds forced from their homes on the Big Island after the Kilauea volcano erupted. They fled a triple threat of earthquakes, fountains of molten lava and plumes of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas. Before evacuating to a friend's home late Friday, Gebbie -- a union carpenter -- took one last walk around the home he built over the past three years on an acre brimming with towering trees and fragrant tropical plants. "My beautiful house -- gorgeous, custom home," he said. "Paid for. No mortgage, which is awesome. ... I took a walk around my house, videotaped my house and pretty much said goodbye.

Hawaii residents scrambling for masks the government says won' t help them . By Dakin Andone, CNN. (CNN) As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection.

But the Hawaii Department of Health says "no commercial mask sold in stores" would actually do residents any good. As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ’ s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection.

PAHOA, HI - MAY 08: U.S. Army National Guard First Lt. Aaron Hew Len takes measurements for sulfur dioxide gas at volcanic fissures in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 8, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Leilani Estates residents have been allowed to return during the day to inspect property and remove belongings. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) © Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/Getty Images PAHOA, HI - MAY 08: U.S. Army National Guard First Lt. Aaron Hew Len takes measurements for sulfur dioxide gas at volcanic fissures in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 8, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Leilani Estates residents have been allowed to return during the day to inspect property and remove belongings. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii's Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection.

Hawaii volcano triggers more evacuations as 2 new vents appear

  Hawaii volcano triggers more evacuations as 2 new vents appear Residents on Hawaii's Big Island were ordered to evacuate Tuesday as two new "highly active" lava fissures opened up in the community of Lanipuna. Locals received an emergency alert on their cell phones as government officials warned of danger in Lanipuna Gardens, a smaller division of Leilani Estates where lava has destroyed dozens of homes, near the town of Pahoa."All Lanipuna residents must evacuate now," the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted. Two volcanic vents are "actively erupting" and "Hazardous fumes continue to be released," officials said.

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection. The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday. "Please let your 'ohana (family) know that the best thing to do is to

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection. The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday. "Please let your 'ohana (family) know that the best thing to do is to

But the Hawaii Department of Health says "no commercial mask sold in stores" would actually do residents any good.

"I'm just worried about, you know, the air quality," resident Clayton Thomas told CNN affiliate KHNL/KGMB. He wanted to get a mask for his nephew, who has asthma, but went to five different stores with no luck.

By Sunday afternoon, 17 volcanic fissures had opened, pouring lava into the area, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Emergency System. And one of the biggest health and safety concerns is the sulfur dioxide in the "vog," or volcanic smog, coming from the vents.

At high concentrations, vog can cause headaches and irritation to the lungs and eyes, according to the University of Hawaii at Hilo. It can induce asthma attacks and cause shortness of breath or other respiratory problems.

The Latest: Hawaii volcano could have explosive eruption

  The Latest: Hawaii volcano could have explosive eruption The Latest on the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii (all times local):10 a.m.Geologists say Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could erupt explosively and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air around its summit caldera in coming weeks.The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday the risk will rise if the lava drops below the groundwater level beneath the summit's caldera or craterlike basin. That's because an influx of water inside could cause steam-driven explosions.The agency says the volcano may eject blocks up to two yards (meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (a kilometer) away.

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection. The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday. "Please let your 'ohana (family) know that the best thing to do is to

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching "Some people say , 'Well just sell me some for my kids, I don ' t need one for myself.'" The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday.

That's why Myke Metcalf sold out of all his protective masks within 15 minutes of opening his store on Friday, according to KHNL/KGMB. He had lines of people wrapped around his shop, Pahoa Auto Parts, to buy the masks, which he's selling at cost.

"Some people are just so tired of hearing 'no' that they just turn around and walk away," he said. "Some people say, 'Well just sell me some for my kids, I don't need one for myself.'"

He wants the government to step in and help, the local station reported.

But according to the Hawaii Department of Health, the masks — particularly the common N-95 or other dust masks — wouldn't help protect residents against sulfur dioxide anyway.

In a statement earlier this month, the department cautioned consumers, saying "no mask sold in stores provides protection from the extremely dangerous volcanic gases that are being released from the current volcanic eruption."

Man Allegedly Looted Lava-Evacuated Homes in Hawaii

  Man Allegedly Looted Lava-Evacuated Homes in Hawaii Hawaii Police said the man is also a suspect in another burglary case in Leilani Estates. Stingu-Dragomir is being held at the Hilo Cellblock during the investigation, according to Hawaii Police.The investigation is being classified as a burglary of a dwelling during an emergency period, a Class “A” felony that is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.Hawaii Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Leilani Estates’ 1,700 residents were forced to evacuate after Kilauea volcano erupted and caused lava to ooze from fissures in the ground last week.

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching "Some people say , 'Well just sell me some for my kids, I don ' t need one for myself.'" The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday.

As volcanic eruptions spew toxic gas into the air, some residents of Hawaii ' s Big Island are frantically searching for masks for protection. The masks " don ' t work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday. "Please let your 'ohana (family) know that the best thing to do is to

Even respirators and gas masks aren't recommended by health officials for use by the general public, in part because proper use of respirators requires correct filters and training to ensure proper fitting and use, according to the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, Hawaii Department of Health and the US Geological Survey.

A standard dust mask © Shutterstock A standard dust mask

The masks "don't work against gases," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter Sunday.

"Please let your 'ohana (family) know that the best thing to do is to avoid the gases by staying indoors with your windows shut, or by vacating the area when you perceive the gas emissions are affecting your breathing," he wrote.

Residents should simply stay away, the Department of Health says.

"The best way to protect yourself and your family from the extremely dangerous volcanic gases is to leave the immediate area of the volcano defined by the police and fire department," it said in a statement.

Two weeks on, Hawaii residents look for 'normalcy' amid ash, lava .
<p>Two weeks after fountains of lava and poisonous gas from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in the middle of the night, things were only getting worse for residents on Friday following one of its largest eruptions and worst sulfur emissions.</p>Two weeks after fountains of lava and poisonous gas from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in the middle of the night, things were only getting worse for residents on Friday following one of its largest eruptions and worst sulfur emissions.

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