Ford Limited-Use Public Health Emergency PAPR
Ford Limited-Use Public Health Emergency PAPR

Ford - with consulting support from 3M - has developed a unique powered-air purifying respirator (PAPR) for use in reducing exposure to airborne particles. This PAPR is designed to quickly aid healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing constant filtered airflow.

Important Notice – Please Read

Doning and Doffing the Limited Use Healthcare PAPR

Purchase Information

The Ford Limited Use Public Health Emergency PAPR is being made available in connection with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization. It is for sale in the US through 3M authorized distributors. 3M and Ford will donate any profits they earn from the sale of these PAPRs to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations.

Limited-Use Public Health Emergency Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) User Instructions

  • From the FDA letter for the Emergency Use Authorization:

    Healthcare personnel refers to all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including body substances (e.g., blood, tissue, and specific body fluids); contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air. These healthcare personnel include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, dentists and dental hygienists, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel.

    For more information, you can contact the FDA through the information provided on their website (

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Limited-Use Public Health Emergency Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) System

PAPR System Basics

  • What is a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) system?
    A PAPR system is a piece of respiratory protection equipment that consists of a battery-powered blower unit, filter, breathing tube and an air delivery unit (half facepiece, full facepiece, loose fitting hood, full hood or helmet). The PAPR system pulls potentially contaminated air into the blower unit via a fan and filters the air through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or other filter media. Then it pushes the filtered air through a breathing tube up to a facepiece or head covering.
  • In the healthcare setting, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a respirator that has been tested and certified by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and, when appropriate based on the procedures being performed, cleared by the FDA for health care workers. A PAPR system with a loose fitting hoodtop can be a good option for those with beards or who are unable to pass a respirator fit test. NOTE: The CDC has not specified any safe levels of exposure to biological particles. This respirator can help reduce inhalation exposures to certain airborne biological particles (e.g. viruses, mold, Bacillus anthracis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, SARS-CoV-2, etc.) but cannot eliminate exposure or the risk of contracting infection, illness or disease. The U.S. Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) and other government agencies have not established safe exposure limits for these contaminants.
  • HEPA filters are tested against a particle size of approximately 0.3 microns mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This particle size is in the range of sizes most difficult to capture and the HEPA filter must maintain a minimum of 99.97% filtration efficiency. NIOSH tests particulate respirators under “worst case” laboratory conditions to help ensure anticipated performance in the workplace.
  • This device has been approved by NIOSH in accordance with its Limited-Use Public Health Emergency PAPR guidance issued in April of 2020 and adheres to FDA’s March 28, 2020 letter authorizing emergency use of NIOSH-approved PAPRs. Use of this device is authorized only until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of personal respiratory protective devices during the COVID-19 outbreak is terminated under Section 564(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, or until the Emergency Use Authorization is revoked under Section 564(g) of the Federal FD&C Act, or until the approved configuration can no longer be maintained, whichever is shorter.
  • Yes. The use of a PAPR system does require a medical evaluation according to the OSHA Respirator Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.134 before use to determine if the individual using the PAPR system is physically capable of use and that use of the PAPR system will not cause them any undue harm.
  • Yes. The use of all respiratory protection equipment (per the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.134) requires end user training before use and at least yearly after that.
  • No. Loose fitting hoodtops do not require end user fit testing.
  • Yes, as long as the beard does not interfere with the sealing surface (the elastic that meets the face) of the hoodtop and the face.
  • When properly donned and used according to the User Instructions, this PAPR system has been tested and approved by NIOSH as a loose fitting hoodtop and has an APF of 25.
  • NIOSH states that any type of loose fitting head top (partial hood, full hood, helmet) is only approved to and APF of 25, unless the company asking for the approval also performs extra testing to show it can protect up to 1000 APF. The additional testing to obtain an APF of 1000 was not done for this system.

PAPR System Use

  • How do I check the air flow of the PAPR system to make sure it is blowing enough air?
    Push the end of the air flow indicator (AFI) with the black rubber gasket into the top of the blower unit until is seats tightly. Rotating the AFI while inserting may improve insertion effort. Make sure that it is tightly seated in the blower unit. Start the blower unit by pushing the power button on the bottom of the blower unit and let the system stabilize for 1-minute. Hold the blower at a slight angle so the AFI is straight up-and-down. The floating ball in the AFI must be above the line indicating minimum air flow. If it does not float above the line, do not use the PAPR system. See the User Instructions for more information.
  • Before each use, the PAPR system must be equipped with a fully charged battery and pass a visual and functional (using the AFI) inspection. See the User Instructions for more information regarding pre-use inspection of the PAPR system. If the PAPR system does not pass any part of the inspection, do not use the PAPR system and remove it from service.
  • No. There is an over the top of the head crown adjustment and, an around the head adjustment that must be fitted by and to the individual that will wear the hoodtop.
  • No. High volume (>170 liters/min) filtered air is forced into the hoodtop to maintain positive pressure. The excess air is allowed to escape past the elastic that surrounds the head and keeps the hoodtop in place.
  • This PAPR Kit contains one medium/large hoodtop. Small/medium and Additional Med/Large hoodtops are available for purchase. This chart explains head sizing. Order information and part numbers are available on this document (PDF, 50.26 KB).
  • Currently, S/M (small/medium) and M/L (medium/large) hoodtops are available. See the User Instructions for part numbers and Appendix A of the User Instructions for a sizing chart.
  • Ford PAPRs with new, fully charged batteries can have run times exceeding 8 hours (3Ah battery) and 14 hours (5Ah battery).

    Charging Times:

    DeWALT® DCB230, 3Ah battery = 1.5 hours
    DeWALT® DCB205, 5Ah battery = 2.5 hours
    *Actual PAPR system battery charging time may be extended or shortened depending on battery age and environment.

  • This PAPR system uses DeWalt batteries and charger. Both the DeWALT DCB230 3-Amp.hour and DCB205 5-Amp.hour batteries are standard off the shelf batteries. They are the only batteries that are NIOSH approved with this system, as well as the 2 Amp battery charger DeWALT CDB112. These products may be purchased at locations that sell DeWALT parts.
  • Data indicates that the Ford PAPR is capable of operating at altitudes up to 10,000 feet elevation. Please check airflow with Air Flow Indicator per User Instructions to ensure the minimum flow rate is met. If the bottom of the Air Flow Indicator ball fails to rise at or above the minimum flow level, do not use the blower unit.
  • To assist with removing the battery pack, lay the blower unit on its back, with the battery door facing you. Click the latching tabs one at a time to release the battery compartment door and expose the battery compartment. See the User Instructions for more information.
  • Ford PAPRs with new, fully charged batteries can have run times exceeding 8 hours (3Ah battery) and 14 hours (5Ah battery).

PAPR System Issues

PAPR System Repair, Cleaning, Disinfection and Disposal

Additional Resources

  • Report a 3M product fraud concern
    Report a Concern

    Use the link above to report potential fraud to us or call the fraud hotline at 1 (800) 426-8688.

    Use the link above to report potential fraud to us or call the fraud hotline at 1 (800) 426-8688.

  • Read the 3M response to the Covid-19 crisis
    Helping the World respond to Covid-19

    In this crisis, 3M is experiencing unprecedented demand for respirators.

    3M is partnering with other companies on a range of innovative solutions to protect healthcare workers and first responders. 

  • Information for 3M Personal Protective Equipment
    Personal Protective Equipment

    Proper selection and use are key to utilizing respirators to help reduce exposure to airborne contaminants. Find Technical Bulletins, How to Videos, Fit Testing Resources and more information to help you protect your employees and yourself.

  • Information for 3M Medical products
    Supporting Health Care Providers

    Every day, health care workers on the front lines put themselves at risk to ensure others are cared for. 3M Medical offers resources and information to help protect providers and patients, especially during this challenging time.