Smoke Ready Week starts today with tips to help residents prepare for wildfire smoke

Smoke Ready Week starts today with tips to help residents prepare for wildfire smoke

Jun 14, 2021

Media contacts:

Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency: Lisa Woodard, Communications & Outreach Manager

Spokane Regional Health District: Kelli Hawkins, Public Information Officer

Spokane County Emergency Management: Gerry Bozarth, Disaster Recovery & PIO

SPOKANE, Wash – Now is the time to prepare for wildfire smoke and “Smoke Ready Week” kicks-off today and continues through Friday. Each day this week, local agencies will be sharing information and resources via a social media campaign, to help individuals prepare for wildfire smoke to protect their health.

Smoke Ready Week is a collaborative effort among several local agencies, including Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (Spokane Clean Air), Spokane Regional Health District, and Spokane County Department of Emergency Management.

“Our region has been hit hard with smoke from wildfires the last several summers. By preparing ahead of time, residents can be more equipped to reduce their exposure to harmful smoke particles,” stated Scott K. Windsor, Executive Director at Spokane Clean Air.

Throughout Smoke Ready Week, information and resources on preparing for wildfire smoke will be posted and shared on partner agencies' social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SmokeReady2021. A daily theme with 2-3 informational messages/day will be shared, for example:

Monday – Stay informed about air quality.

Knowing where and how to access current air quality information is important. During wildfire season, air quality can change hour to hour so be sure to check current data here. For statewide wildfire smoke information, the Washington State Smoke Blog is a great resource.

Tuesday – What's in wildfire smoke?

Smoke is made up of gasses and microscopic particles. Smoke particles are tiny enough to bypass the body’s normal defenses, entering the lungs and blood stream. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. The best way to protect yourself is to reduce your exposure to smoke. The Spokane Regional Health District has more information here.

Wednesday – Wildfire smoke and your health.

Inhaling wildfire smoke can be harmful to anyone, but it is especially harmful to these vulnerable groups: people with heart and lung disease, people with chronic respiratory conditions, infants and children, pregnant women and adults 65 and over. People in these high-risk groups need to follow their health care team’s instructions for taking medications and follow their respiratory management plan. If symptoms worsen, they need to call their health care provider. More information here.

Thursday – Keep indoor air quality clean.

Create a cleaner-air room in your home with a portable HEPA air cleaner. They can help reduce particulate levels indoors, as long as they are the right type and size for your home. Learn more.

Avoid activities that create more indoor and outdoor air pollution, such as frying foods, sweeping and vacuuming, and burning candles.

Be familiar with your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Ensure the best filters for the system are used and change filters more often when it’s smoky. If you have an air conditioning system in your home or vehicle, switch from the “fresh air intake” to “recirculate” mode.

Friday – Reduce your wildfire smoke exposure.

What do you do if you don’t have air conditioning and it’s a hot day? It’s always important to pay attention to the heat and stay hydrated — overheating is dangerous. These steps can reduce heat:

  • Close curtains or shades during the day when it’s sunny.
  • Use portable fans indoors.
  • Track the air quality and open your windows when the air is clean.
  • If you can’t stay cool at home or are sensitive to smoke, it may be best to seek shelter elsewhere. Stay with friends, family, or neighbors that have good filtration in their homes.