How to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

How To Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

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In addition to the Massive wildfires that have ravaged Canada, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) has reported that in the first six months of 2023, there have been over 23,000 reported wildfires in the United States alone. While many of us may not be at risk of fire damage directly, the smoke put off by these blazes can be blown hundreds of miles away, putting your home air quality at risk. So, what can you do to protect yourself from smoke pollution?

Stay Informed and Prepared:

Staying informed about wildfire activity in your area is the first step in protecting your home from smoke. Monitor local news, weather reports, and official sources such as the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) or your state’s wildfire management agencies for updates. Understanding the current situation will allow you to take timely action and implement protective measures.

Upgrade Your Home's Ventilation:

Having a well-ventilated home is essential for minimizing smoke infiltration. Consider installing High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in your HVAC system to trap fine particles and smoke. Regularly replace filters to ensure their efficiency. Additionally, seal any gaps, cracks, or openings around windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering your home.

Create a Clean Room:

Designate a room in your home as a “clean room” where you can seek refuge from the smoke. Ensure this room is properly sealed and equipped with a portable HEPA air purifier to further reduce indoor smoke levels. Keep the door closed during smoke events and use weather stripping to maintain an airtight seal.

Monitor Indoor Air Quality:

Invest in an indoor air quality monitor to keep track of smoke levels inside your home. These devices can provide real-time data on pollutant concentrations, allowing you to adjust your protective measures accordingly. For even better air pollution readings, periodically schedule professional indoor air quality tests.

Stay Indoors During High Smoke Days:

When wildfire smoke is particularly intense, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible. Limit outdoor activities, and if you must go outside, do so during times when the smoke is less dense, such as early mornings or late evenings.

Use N95 Masks Properly:

If you need to venture outside during heavy smoke, wear an N95 mask or respirator to protect your lungs from harmful particles. Ensure the mask fits snugly on your face and is certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Protection from Smoke Requires Preparation

Protecting your home from wildfire smoke requires a combination of preparation, vigilance, and conscious efforts to minimize its impact on your indoor environment. By staying informed, creating defensible spaces, upgrading ventilation, and having a well-thought-out evacuation plan, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with wildfire smoke. If You have any questions about air quality or need further information on protecting yourself from smoke, please feel free to contact the air quality experts at AQC at any time.

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