In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and a growing fear of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, many Americans are wondering what they can do to protect themselves against such threats.

Leonard Henrikson believes he has the answer.

Henrikson has designed a product to protect against possible nuclear fallout, as well as biological or chemical attack. The NBC Safe Cell Air System creates a “safe room” in either an apartment, home, car, bomb shelter or office by filtering contaminated air into safe, breathable air. Motivated to start producing the filtration systems after the WTC bombings and the anthrax scare, Henrikson says he wanted to build something that would offer protection in case of a nuclear or chemical event.

“The government isn’t doing a darn thing in my opinion to protect the people,” he said.

Producing a system that would offer some kind of defense to those living in “high-targeted” areas, Henrikson says he modeled his system after those the government uses. He was the chief engineer at Pacific Machine Works in Oregon and helped to design similar systems that filtered radioactive substances from the air.

NFS-RPS Inc. produces systems like Henrikson’s but on a larger scale. Fred Degrooth, director of business development at NFS-RPS Inc. says most of their clientele are nuclear power plants, people within the Department of Defense and those associated with the Department of Energy. Depending upon the size of the NBC system, Degrooth says they can range in price from $1,500 to $1 million.

Henrikson’s portable system, available through American Safe Room Inc., is a smaller version of those built for power plants and the military. He sells his product for around $1,700. The filtration system meets military specifications and requirements, Henrikson says, which is important because other systems available on the Internet do not. Many of the room fresheners and filters that are sold online claim to protect against war gases, but they merely filter the air already in the room instead of filtering all the air that comes into the room, he says.

Tim Kaat, sales representative for Survive America, sells a variety of products that “promote preparedness” in case of a national catastrophe. He says Survive America also offers a filtration system, but that they sell more gas masks than filter systems. The masks, which range from $30 to $300, have received “quite a good response” from those seeking to protect themselves in their homes, says Kaat. A “wide range” of people purchase the gas masks, including first-responders and police departments, he added.

The NBC protection system works better than a gas mask for long-term uses, Henrikson says, because you can’t eat or drink with a mask on, and the masks are only good for a limited amount of time. The filter system is supposed to work in any closed room 1,500 cubic feet in area or less. Henrikson also sells an installment kit with it, so it will fit in a variety of places and not have to be custom ordered.

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