Wildfire Season

Wildfires are unpredictable. You can never underestimate the value of a preparedness plan. A plan should include, at least, three key elements: Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting, and Emergency Evacuation. Check with the authorities in your area for a comprehensive plan that best fits your area. Also, make sure that you are prepared for wildfire smoke and have on hand a high-quality air purifier. It’s important to note that wildfire smoke can significantly impact the quality of indoor air, even in well-sealed buildings. This is because the smoke contains tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM) that infiltrate indoor spaces. These particles can be harmful to health, particularly smaller particulates (PM2.5) that can penetrate deep into the respiratory system. Additionally, wildfire smoke releases gaseous pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that can enter homes through gaps, openings, or ventilation systems, leading to poor indoor air quality.

Those most vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality include children, older adults, and individuals with respiratory conditions. Prolonged exposure to wildfire smoke can cause respiratory symptoms, eye, nose, throat irritation, and cardiovascular issues.

To minimize the impact of wildfire smoke on indoor air quality, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Keep all windows and doors closed to prevent smoke from entering your home.
  2. Use HEPA filters, which can help to capture particulate matter and other pollutants.
  3. Seal any gaps or cracks in your home to prevent the smoke from entering.
  4. Avoid indoor pollution sources, such as smoking or burning candles, as these can contribute to poor air quality.
  5. Maintain your ventilation systems to ensure that they are working effectively.
  6. It’s essential to monitor the air quality in your home and seek medical attention if anyone experiences severe respiratory symptoms or health issues due to wildfire smoke exposure.

If you own a portable air purifier, it’s crucial to ensure that it is appropriately sized for the largest room in your home and placed where airflow isn’t obstructed. Additionally, you should maintain the air purifier by cleaning or replacing the filter as recommended. If you have an HVAC system, it’s recommended that you install a high-quality air filter and replace it according to the manufacturer’s instructions to help remove fine particles from your indoor air. By taking these steps, you can help ensure your home has clean, healthy air, even during wildfire season.