Sadly, California is no stranger to wildfires. This past year, 2019, California has been plagued with some of the worst fires. According to the California Fire Department, almost 7,000 fires have been recorded totaling an estimated 253, 321 acres of burned land. The effects of these wildfires have been detrimental. From the copious amount of lost property and damage to the number of injuries and even deaths that have taken place, these fires have truly affected us in multiple ways.
One of the biggest ways that the California fires have impacted us is through indoor air quality or IAQ. During a wildfire, the smoke that arises can have extremely dangerous impacts on our health, especially if they are not dealt with properly. If you are close to a wildfire, the fires itself, as well as the heavy smoke and ash, can pose serious risks to your safety and health. Because of this, you and your family should be prepared to evacuate immediately if told to do so. Even if you’re farther away from the wildfire you are still exposed to the smoke from the fire.
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gasses and fine particles that are produced when wood and other organic materials burn. It can be made up of even more toxic gasses and particles when manmade items are burned. All of those chemicals and toxins are then floating in the air that you’re breathing. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from the fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system when you’re both indoors and outdoors. Not only can this produce long term health concerns but the immediate results can also be detrimental. From burning eyes and difficulty breathing to contracting illnesses such as bronchitis, the particles from fires can have strong effects. You may also be susceptible to chronic heart and lung diseases, which can be linked to premature deaths.
The smoke from wildfires can be a silent and deadly killer, which is why you want to make sure that you’re protecting yourself. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with breathing issues or you think you’re far enough away from the fire that it won’t affect you, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Some easy ways to protect yourself during a fire are as follows:
Pay Attention to Local Air Quality Reports
As the fires or smoke gets worse, the concentration of particles in the air increases and so should the steps that you’re taking to protect yourself. Air quality reports are usually available through your local news media, local air agency, and can be found online.
Monitor Your Activities
Even if you’re being told that it’s safe to resume your normal activities, use common sense. If the air outside looks like it’s polluted, use your best judgment and only go out if you have to. During this time most businesses and people will understand if you’re not able to make your usual appointments due to the outside air. Certain places also may be closed for this reason too. You’ll also want to cut back on any recreational activities outside. It’s probably not the best time to go for a run outside or mow the lawn. It’s especially crucial that you monitor the time that your children spend outside too. Since their bodies are still developing they are especially susceptible to harmful particles in the air. If you or your children are spending long amounts of time outside, pay attention to any symptoms that may be occurring. If you are experiencing anything, these symptoms are a likely indication that you need to reduce your exposure.
Invest In Face Masks
While dust or paper masks are not enough to protect your lungs against the fire particles, they are a good place to start. Make sure that these masks are fitted properly to you and your loved ones. Other masks like particulate masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators can help too. You should be able to find these types of masks at hardware stores or other home repair stores.
Keep Particle Levels Low Inside
When smoke is heavy, especially for prolonged periods of time, fine particles can build up indoors, even though you may not be able to see them. Avoid anything that burns in your home. This means candles, wood-burning fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, and other items like these. Even vacuuming can stir up particles that are already in your home. You should especially avoid any type of smoking too. This puts even more pollution into your lungs.
Invest In Products From Comfort First
An easy way to protect yourself and the ones you love from harmful smoke and fire particles is to invest in products from Comfort First. At Comfort First, we have a wide array of products designed to give you the cleanest air possible even in cases of wildfires. All of our products are designed for easy use that you can do yourself. These products can fit into most areas in commercial offices or residential homes. We even have products designed specifically for Indoor Air Quality, which you can easily purchase on site. For more questions regarding Indoor Air Quality, learn more by visiting our site or connecting with us through phone or email. When you think Indoor Air Quality, think Comfort First Products.