Wildfire Smoke Tips

It’s wildfire season, when Seattle can get smoky from nearby (and not so nearby fires.) Minimize the impact of wildfire smoke on you and your family:
  1. Monitor changing risk with updated maps. Check out these air quality maps for Washington. Limit exposure when air quality in the area dips to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.”
  2. Keep doors and windows closed, and use a towel to block gaps under doors. Close fireplace dampers, too. If you use the fan on your furnace to stay cool or have an air conditioner, set it on recirculate so you’re not drawing dirty air into your home. Consider buying a HEPA air cleaner, particularly for your bedroom. In your car, use recirculated rather than fresh air. 
  3. Limit exposure indoors and out. Postpone yard chores, exercise and outdoor play for the kids. Avoid vacuuming the carpet, which can send settled particles floating back into the air. If you have a medical appointment scheduled, find out if it’s possible to substitute an online visit, instead. That will save you from having to get out in the smoky air, perhaps aggravating your condition.
  4. Use N95 masks if possible. Thanks to their tight-fitting design and multiple layers, they block more smoke particles than the face coverings you’re probably using for everyday errands. However, they’re hard to find these days, so if they’re not already in your supply cabinet, continue using the masks you have now.
  5. Check your car’s air filter. If you’ve been driving in smoky conditions, your air filter can become clogged, leading to a breakdown. If you pull out your air filter and can’t see sunlight through it, it’s time for a change. Don’t wait until your normally scheduled service.

These tips are from Pemco Insurance, which also compiled its wildfire resources in one place, the PEMCO Wildfire Blog.

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