Climate change is driving extreme weather and drought across the U.S. The number of major wildfires continues to increase year after year. Both man-made and natural, these fires pose a threat to public safety, especially in western states. Burning wood and organic materials releases microscope particles into the air, which can get into your eyes, mouth, and lungs. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, use these tips to reduce wildfire smoke exposure.
Know Your Risk
As wildfires become more prevalent, everyone should learn to protect themselves from poor air quality. Regardless of where you live, use the AirNow website to check the latest air quality ratings in your neighborhood. This will tell you whether you, your loved ones, or employees are at risk of wildfire smoke exposure.
Air quality can change at a moment’s notice. Strong winds and dry brush can make it easy for wildfires to spread. More Americans are at risk of exposure than ever before. Stay up to date with the news and local health advisories even if you think you’re not at risk.
Reducing Exposure Indoors
If there is wildfire smoke in the air near where you live or work, you may be asked to stay indoors. There are several things you can do to limit the amount of smoke coming into your home or business. Remember to close all windows and doors. Turn off fans and vents that pull air from the outdoors. Keep your home or office as far away from an approaching fire as possible by keeping brush, wood, and other flammable objects away from your property. It’s also a good idea to install an upgraded filter on your HVAC system as an added precaution.
There is still a chance the smoke will get inside even if you do everything you can to seal off the outdoors. Keep a stock of N95 respirator face masks on hand to reduce wildfire smoke exposure if it permeates the seal. Do your best to seal yourself off from the smoke by going into a separate room.
Prepare for an Emergency
If the situation escalates, there’s a good chance you will be asked to evacuate your home. Create an evacuation plan for your loved ones or employees, so they know what to do in an emergency even if you’re not there to guide them. Everyone should tune in to the latest news station, so they can pay attention to road closures and the latest evacuation procedures. Keep emergency supplies on hand in case of injury as well as face masks for wildfire smoke to safely navigate the outdoors.
No one is immune to wildfire smoke exposure. Hazardous airborne particles can travel fast through the air. Be prepared to seal off your home or business if the air quality should change. It’s always best to have the proper wildfire safety gear on hand, regardless of your estimated risk. Contact the professionals at PK Safety to find the right face masks and respirators for your home or office.