What can we do to protect our family during the wildfire season?
The forecast for fire potential issued June 1 by the National Interagency Fire Center predicts that the potential for wildfires will increase to higher than “normal” this summer in Northern California, the Plains states, and Northern Rockies. Therefore, we remind people to be aware of the possibility of fires coming at any time as summer approaches, and how to protect themselves in the event of a wildfire.
#1 Prepare an emergency kit
A person and family should have an emergency kit to provide continuous material support in case of an emergency. Suggested items include three days' worth of food, 3 gallons of water, medication, replacement clothes, a first aid kit, flashlight, and copies of important items (such as passport, driver's license, insurance card). If you have young children at home, please also prepare sticky notes with the child's name, parental information, and allergies.
During a wildfire, smoke can make the outdoor air unhealthy to breathe. Local officials may advise you to stay indoors during a smoke event. You should be aware that some of the smoke from outdoors can enter your home and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too.
#2 Prepare an Air purifier in-house
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of air pollutants of which particulate matter is the principal public health threat. In fact, young children, pregnant women, and elder adults are more susceptible to health impacts from smoke and ash, which are important air pollutants. Smoke and ash from wildfires can significantly impact those with pre-existing respiratory diseases or heart disease. Firefighters and emergency response workers are also greatly affected by injuries, burns, and smoke inhalation.
Air purifiers are one of the best ways to protect from wildfire smoke and ensure you are breathing pollution and smoke-free air inside. Purifiers with HEPA filters are extremely effective at capturing dangerous PM2. 5 particulate matter found in wildfire smoke. A HEPA purifier moves air through its filter to trap particles, odors, and more without introducing anything into the air.
HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. It is an acronym for "high-efficiency particulate air filter" . This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm).
Smartmi Air Purifier 2
Smartmi Air Purifier has true HEPA high-efficiency filter material. H13 filter material can effectively filter PM2.5, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances. The filter element contains a large amount of activated carbon, which can formaldehyde, TOVC, and a peculiar smell in space.
#3 Prepare Humidifiers
Humidifiers are not air cleaners and will not significantly reduce the number of particles in the air during a smoke event. However, Humidifiers (depending on the environment) can slightly reduce pollutants through condensation, absorption, and other mechanisms. In an arid environment, one possible benefit of running a humidifier during a smoking event might be to help the mucous membranes remain comfortably moist, which may reduce eye and airway irritation.
However, if not properly cleaned and maintained, some humidifiers can circulate mold spores and other biological contaminants.
Smartmi Evaporative Humidifier 2
#4 Keep your home safe from flying ash
Using flame-resistant building materials on the upper floors of your home can prevent ash from flying, which can travel up to a mile in a wildfire. Or reinstall the roof. It is also recommended to cover the vent with a metal mesh to keep out the ashes.
After the smoke clears, you may need to clean up ash or other debris left behind by the fire. The Protect Yourself from Ash fact sheet describes how you can protect yourself and your family and avoid getting ash in the indoor air while cleaning up.
Wear an N95 respirator to protect your lungs from breathing in ash. Change your shoes and clothing before you leave the cleanup site to avoid tracking ash offsite, into your car, or in other places.
Ash deposited on surfaces both indoors and outdoors can be inhaled if it becomes airborne when you clean up. Avoid stirring up or sifting through ash as much as you can. Avoid actions that kick ash particles up into the air, such as dry sweeping. Before sweeping indoor and outdoor hard surfaces, mist them with water to keep dust down. Follow with wet mopping. Use a damp cloth or wet mop on lightly dusted areas. When you wet down ash, use as little water as you can. If you choose to vacuum dusty surfaces, use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-type vacuum.
In this series of wildfire blogs, we introduce the causes and hazards of wildfires. In the last blog, we give suggestions on how to protect yourself and your family during the wildfire season. Hope this series of blogs about wildfires will help you to get through the wildfire season safely.