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Protecting Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire season is unfortunately here. Lightning, unattended campfires, and reckless actions result in hundreds of forest fires every year. Just like there are many things you can do to prevent forest fires, there are things you can do to protect yourself when smoke inevitably fills the skies. 

Wildfire smoke does more than just obscure your vision. Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of gasses and microscopic particles from burning forests. The tiny particles are the most dangerous, as they can cause burning eyes, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and coughing. If exposed for too long, these symptoms can be detrimental to your health. How can you protect yourself and your family during fire season?

Staying home is the best course of action during a period of dense smoke. To keep your home as smoke free as possible, you’ll need to limit the amount of air circulating in from outside. Start by keeping all windows and doors shut as much as possible. Close off all airways to the outside, like fireplace dampers and adjustable vents. If you have an HVAC or AC system, turn off the “fresh air” feature or set the system to “recirculate” mode. You can also close the outside intake to keep outside air from getting in. 

Secondly, make sure that the air inside your house is as clean as possible. You can buy a portable air purifier anywhere that sells portable AC units. Check the filters in your home filtration system to make sure they are clean and in good working order. Replace if needed. You can make a home-made air filtration system using a 20 inch box fan and an air filter. Here’s how. (If you make a homemade air filtration system, don’t leave it unattended)

If the smoke is heavy and it is too difficult to keep the entire house smoke-free, you can create a “clean room.” Choose a room that is large enough for everyone to fit comfortably. Use a room with no windows or make sure that all doors and windows are closed and sealed. Use an air purifier and fans to keep air clean and moving. Refrain from activities that would create small particles like cooking, lighting candles, and vacuuming. Stay in the room as much as you can to keep yourself safe from smoke inhalation.

You can protect yourself from wildfires on an individual level as well. Stock up on masks that are approved for protection from wildfire smoke (here’s an information sheet). Stay hydrated and get enough sleep – you are more susceptible to infection when you are tired and dehydrated. Avoid strenuous activities, as this can cause extra inhalation of unhealthy air. 

At Gordy Marks Real Estate, our top priority is making sure that our clients are safe and happy. If you’re looking for advice on summer home maintenance, remodeling, or if it’s time to find a new home, send us a message!