Basic health messages
Photo by FreeImages.com/Jeff Johnson
Take these steps to protect your health on smoky days:
- Close windows and doors as much as possible.
- Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible.
- Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it's hot, if possible. Set your AC to recirculate.
- If you don't have AC and it's too hot indoors, go to a place with AC like a mall, the library, or a movie theater. If you aren't able to leave and it's too hot, it's better to open the windows for a short time to cool the indoor space than to overheat.
- A DIY air cleaner may be an easy and cost-effective way to clean air inside your home. Information on how to construct a portable air cleaner and important safety tips to follow while using one of these fans can be found at Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's DIY Air Filter website.
- Don't pollute the indoor air. Don't smoke, use candles, or vacuum. Avoid frying and broiling when cooking indoors.
Call 9-1-1 if you or someone else has serious symptoms, like trouble breathing. You can also send a text to 9-1-1 if you are Deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, and anyone who might be unsafe if they were to be heard by an intruder or abusive partner. Learn more about text-to-911.
- Smoke from fires can be dangerous for everyone
- Arabic: دخان الحرائق قد يكون خطرًا على الجميع
- Chinese: 火災煙霧對任何人
- Korean: 화재 연기 모두에게 위험
- Punjabi: ਅੱਗ ਤੋਂ ਸਨੱਕਸਲਆ ਧ ੂੰਆਾਂ ਹਰ ਸਕਸੇ ਲਈ ਖ਼ਤਰਨਾਕ ਹੋ ਸਕਦਾ ਹੈ
- Russian: Дым от пожаров может представлять опасность для всех
- Somali: Qiiqa kayimaada dababka halis wayn ayuu kunoqon karaa qofkasta
- Spanish: El humo de los incendios puede ser peligroso para todos
- Tagalog: Ang usok mula sa sunog ay maaaring maging mapanganib para sa lahat
- Ukrainian: Дим від пожеж може бути небезпечним для будь-кого
- Vietnamese: Khói từ các đám cháy có thể rất nguy hiểm với tất cả mọi người
Prepare for wildfire smoke season:
- Consider getting an air purifier. Air purifiers with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will reduce the number of irritating fine particles in indoor air. A HEPA filter with charcoal will help remove some of the gases from the smoke. Do not use an air purifier that produces ozone. More information: EPA's Indoor Air Filtration Factsheet (PDF)
- If you have asthma or another respiratory condition, make sure you have an inhaler or other medications that you might need. Make an asthma management plan with your healthcare provider.
- Make plans for indoor activities for kids on smoky days. Consider what your children can do if they need to stay indoors when smoke levels are "unhealthy for sensitive groups" or worse.
- Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should make plans for smoky days. Plan to postpone outdoor activities or move them indoors when smoke levels are "unhealthy for sensitive groups" or worse. Air Pollution and School Activity Guide.
Masks and wildfire smoke:
The right mask and proper fit can reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke, but they don’t work for everyone. This info is also available in PDF format.
- Wearing a mask may makes it more difficult to breathe because it can require extra effort to move air through the mask.
- If you have breathing problems (like asthma or COPD) or heart disease, check with your healthcare provider before using any mask.
- Only use a mask after first trying other, more effective ways to avoid smoke, like staying indoors and reducing outdoor activity.
- Respirator masks labeled N95 or N100 can filter out fine particles from smoke but not hazardous gases (like carbon monoxide).
- Cloth (wet or dry), paper masks, and tissues will NOT filter out wildfire smoke.
- There are several varieties and manufacturers of N95 masks and each has a slightly different fit. If you choose to wear a mask, select one that fits you securely and comfortably.
- Straps must go above and below the ears and the mask should fit over the nose and under the chin.
- The mask should not let air in from the sides around the nose and chin.
- Masks will have limited effect for people with beards or young children because they do not fit snugly on their faces.
- Get Ready for Wildfire Season, Public Health Insider blog
- Wildfire Smoke and Washington Workers, WA State Labor and Industries
- Wildfire and smoke info, King County Emergency Management
- Health and wildfire smoke, WA State Dept. of Health
- Air quality monitoring, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
- Air Now, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Wildfire Smoke Blog
Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/wildfiresmoke