WildfiresSmoke from wildfires can harm anyone nearby and even many miles downwind. Learn about what you should do to protect your lungs.
Determine several different routes you can take in a hurry to leave your area. Create a plan for pets and livestock. Share your plan with close family and friends.
Emergency supplies, such as water, food, a first aid kit, necessary medications and a respirator are among the items to include.
If you do not need to evacuate, prepare to keep wildfire smoke outside of at least one room of your home where you can close off outside air and set up a portable air cleaner. Watch video.
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People living close to the fire-stricken areas should remain indoors, unless prompted by local officials to evacuate, and avoid breathing smoke, ashes and other pollution in the area.
Ordinary dust masks, designed to filter out large particles, and cloth facial coverings will not help. They still allow the more dangerous smaller particles to pass through. Special, more expensive dust masks with an N-95 or N-100 filter will filter out the damaging fine particles, but may not fit properly, are not made for children and are difficult for people with lung disease to use.
These masks can make it more difficult for anyone to breathe and should only be used if you must go outside.
Extra precaution should be taken for children, who are more susceptible to smoke. Their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air (and consequently more pollution) for their size than adults. N-95 masks should not be used for children because they will likely not fit properly.
When driving your car in smoky areas, keep your windows and vents closed, and operate on "recirculate" setting, including when using air conditioning.
Stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut and preferably with clean air circulating through air conditioners and air cleaners. Use air conditioners on the recirculation setting to keep from pulling outside air into the room. Air cleaning devices that have HEPA filters can provide added protection from the soot and smoke.
If you do not need to evacuate, prepare to keep wildfire smoke outside of at least one room of your home where you can close off outside air and set up a portable air cleaner. This video outlines tips to create a clean room.
Listen to your local or state officials and protect yourself and your family.
If you live close to or in the surrounding area, don't exercise outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation.
Residents and volunteers should use caution during clean-up because the process involves ashes and other sources of pollution.
People with lung or heart problems should avoid clean-up activities and areas where dust or soot is present.
Thoroughly wet dusty and sooty area prior to clean-up. This will help to reduce the amount of particles becoming airborne.
Wear an appropriate mask during clean-up, a HEPA-filtered one or an N-95.
If exposure to asbestos or other hazardous materials is suspected, do not disturb the area. Dust masks do not protect against asbestos.