It’s pretty inevitable while living in California: Even if your home is not in the path of a fire, you can still be affected by smoke particles released into the air from a wildfire.
Particulate matter is the main public health threat during short-term exposure to wildfire smoke, so it’s crucial to protect yourself.
Really, it’s about common sense. If you can see the smoke—if you can smell the smoke—chances are, the particulate matter levels are high. If you can do that, you should exercise caution.
• Close all doors and windows.
• Avoid vigorous outdoor and indoor activity.
• Those with respiratory difficulties or heart problems, as well as the elderly and young children, should all remain indoors.
• Keep windows closed and run your air conditioner if possible.
• When smoke subsides, you should air out your home to clear any polluted air that might be trapped inside.
What if I have to be outside?
• Wearing a special N95 or P100 respirator mask can help protect you against the fine particles in smoke. Paper or surgical masks are not effective in preventing inhalation of smoke.
• Remember, a car should only be used to leave an area, not as shelter. If you’re in a car, close windows and doors and run your car’s air conditioner, making sure you’re circulating the air already in the car and not pulling in fresh/smoky air.