Oct 14, 2017

Smoke Health Advisory

Published:  October 13, 2017 at 8:07 PM

Advisories warning people of unhealthy air from the multiple fires that continue to burn in Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa and Solano counties were issued by both the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District (NSCAPCD) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on October 11 and 12, 2017. Air quality will be variable while there are active fires in the region and shifting winds. Children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease are most impacted.  

To decrease your exposure to wildfire smoke and to limit harmful effects from smoke follow these healthy habits:

·         Limit your time outside and stay indoors as much as possible.

·         If possible, seek shelter in buildings with filtered air OR move to areas outside the region less impacted by wildfire smoke until smoke levels subside.

·         Keep your windows and doors closed unless it’s extremely hot outside. If you don’t have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.

·         Run your home or car air conditioner on recycle or recirculate. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.

·         If you or your children have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor for advice if symptoms worsen or consider leaving the area.  

·         For those who cannot avoid being outdoors in a smoky environment, the use of particulate respirators, sometimes referred to as “N95 masks”, can help reduce exposure. N95 or P100 respirators can help to filter out particles, but they do not remove irritating chemicals contained in smoke. The following groups of people should be prioritized for respirator use: 
--People who must work or be outside in the smokiest environments for long duration, and either perform heavy exertion or have underlying lung or heart disease. 
--People who must work or be outside in the smokiest environments for long duration. 
--People who must be in the smokiest environments for shorter duration, particularly those that perform heavy exertion or have underlying lung or heart disease. 
--People who must work or be outside in smoky environments with a lower Air Quality. 

·         Effective use of particulate respirators relies on selecting a size and model that will provide a tight seal between the respirator and the user’s face.

·         Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke. 

To avoid adding additional air pollution please curtail air polluting activities such as wood burning, lawn mowing and leaf blowing, driving and barbecuing.