Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Get Ready for wildfire smoke: New resources to stay safe!

Canada has been experiencing some of its worst wildfires in modern history, but we’re not safe either! Whether you saw it on the news or experienced it firsthand, you may know what we’re talking about — wildfire smoke. To keep you, your family, friends and even pets safe, the Get Ready team has provided a new infographic and fact sheet. Be sure to check them both out to know what to do before, during and after wildfire smoke impacts you! 

Here are a few quick tips. 

Stay inside 

Our first tip is to stay inside! This is especially important for: 

  • People with asthma 
  • People with heart or lung disease 
  • Children
  • Pregnant women 
  • Older adults 
  • First responders 

Staying home with all windows and doors closed can be one of the best ways to stay safe. It’s a great way to protect your health, but not all houses are airtight enough to keep the smoke out. Maybe you notice a smoky smell inside your home, or perhaps your eyes start to sting. This could mean that your house is not providing enough protection. You may want to stay with family, friends, neighbors or at a public building. If you’re staying inside an airtight building with proper air conditioning and filtration, you can keep smoke inhalation to a minimum. Most buildings’ air conditioners are built with air filters, but the best way to make sure your indoor air is clean will differ based on the type of air conditioning unit. See the Environmental Protection Agency’s fact sheet for information about proper air filtration and the different options. 

Wear an N95 Mask 

If you must be outside for any reason or are at high risk for health problems, wear an N95 mask. They’ve been easier to find since the coronavirus pandemic, and you can often purchase them in hardware stores or drugstores. You may even have one lying around already! To fully protect your health, you’ll want the correct size where the mask fits over your nose and under your chin. Keep in mind that cloth and dust masks as well as bandanas do not filter out wildfire smoke. So go grab your N95! N95 masks do not come in suitable sizes for children. For more information about how to keep your child safe from wildfire smoke, the CDC provides some great guidance. 

Keep the air quality clean 

The last thing you want to do is make the indoor air pollution worse! Wildfire smoke doesn’t smell great, but don’t light a candle even if it smells nice! You should also avoid using gas or propane, smoking tobacco and vacuuming. Even if you’re craving a warm home-cooked meal or feel like cleaning around your house, avoid all of these activities as they can make the air quality inside worse.  

Wildfire smoke can quickly affect just about anyone, so share these tips with your friends, family, co-workers and anyone that you feel needs this information to protect their health!    

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