With the recent wildfires in Canada impacting much of Maryland and Virginia, it is important to note that the declining air quality can detrimental to your health. This is especially true for infants, elderly, and those with respiratory problems.
Below are some tips on how to protect your home from wildfire smoke:
- Keep all windows and doors closed. Smoke and contaminates can easily enter a home if you leave your windows and doors open. If you need to ventilate your home, open windows on opposite sides of the house to create a cross-breeze. It is important to note that older or badly maintained windows and doors may still have huge gaps that let a lot of these contaminates in.
- Clean your home regularly. Smoke particles can settle on surfaces in your home. Vacuum and dust your home regularly to remove these particles. A vacuum with a High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can help a lot.
- Use fans and air conditioning. Using fans can help to circulate the air in your home and remove smoke particles. Air conditioning can also help to keep your home cool, which can help to reduce your risk of respiratory problems. Your HVAC system is likely equipped with a filter as well. Some filters, depending on the MERV rating, are rated to clean the air more than others. It is important, however, to only use filters that your HVAC system is rated for.
- Install a portable air purifier. Many air purifiers can help remove smoke and other harmful substances from the air. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are great for cleaning the air around you.
- Reduce the amount of smoke that enters your home. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, do not use it during a wildfire. Also, avoid burning candles or incense, as these will add to the partiuclates in the air.
- If you have respiratory problems get medical attention. If you have respiratory problems, such as asthma or COPD, it is important to get medical attention if you are exposed to wildfire smoke. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help you breathe easier.
By following these tips, you can help to protect your home and family from the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.
Here are some additional tips to help you stay safe during a wildfire:
- Stay informed. Monitor local news and weather reports for updates on wildfires in your area.
- Have a plan. Have a plan in place for what you will do if you need to evacuate your home.
- Be prepared to leave early. If you are told to evacuate, do not wait. The sooner you leave, the less likely you are to be caught in traffic or on the road during a fire.
- Bring important documents and medications. When you evacuate, bring important documents, such as your insurance policies, birth certificates, and passports. Also, bring any medications that you need.
- Dress appropriately. When you evacuate, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and closed-toe shoes. You may also want to wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Stay hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated when you are evacuating. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Be patient. Evacuations can be chaotic and stressful. Be patient and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.