We have experienced significant amounts of smoke from wildfires almost every year for quite a while now. Not only can inhaling this smoke be hazardous to even healthy persons, to the vulnerable, such as those with underlying respiratory disease, the old, or the very young, it can be life-threatening. A few tips to stay safe when the smoke comes:
- Download an app to your phone to monitor air quality. AirNow is an excellent one.
- Stay indoors as much as possible when the air quality is poor. Running, walking, or biking in these conditions is not healthful exercise.
- Keep N95 masks on hand; they do quite a good job blocking particulates.
The most important preparation you can make is to have several air purifiers available; they are very efficient at removing particulates from the air. Make sure you check how many square feet each unit will cleanse and buy additional units as needed. A DIY alternative is to attach a furnace filter to the back of a box fan; while this doesn’t provide the same level of particulate removal as a commercial air purifier, it does a fairly good job. Please see the link below for an article on how to do this. A couple of warnings about these DIY fans:
- They should not be run continuously over long periods to avoid burning out the motor. One hour on, one hour off is recommended.
- For the same reason, high efficiency furnace filiters (above MERV 12) are not recommended; pushing air through these will put too much strain on the motor.
- They should not be used overnight as if the motor does overheat it may cause a fire. This is very unlikely but still a possibility to be avoided.
- As with all such things they should be used with caution and close supervision around small children.