28 Jun How to limit your exposure to the wildfire smoke
Did you know that smoke can travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the fire zone?
If you live in an area particularly at risk from wildfires, you better be prepared. Wildfires produce thick smoke that can lead to both minor and more serious health issues. Especially young children, people who are pregnant, people who smoke, seniors, people involved in outdoor work or sports and people with existing illnesses or chronic health conditions, such as lung or heart conditions and diabetes.
To help protect ourselves and our loved ones, there are certain actions we can take to limit our exposure to the harmful wildfire smoke:
- Pay attention to the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) or other indicators of smoke levels in your area to help identify your level of risk.
- Limit outdoor activity and strenuous physical activities as much as possible when the air quality is affected by smoke.
- If you can, protect your indoor air from wildfire smoke by keeping windows and doors closed.
- If you have an HVAC system, you can help remove fine particles from your indoor air by (1) installing a high-quality air filter and replacing it according to manufacturer’s instructions and (2) running your furnace fan often to filter indoor air.
- If possible, consider using a portable air purifier to remove smoke from your home and/or turning on your air conditioning.
- If you can’t maintain clean air inside your home during a wildfire smoke event, be aware of locations in your community where you can find clean air. Libraries, shopping malls and community centres typically have filters and air conditioning that make them safe places to take a break from the smoke.
- If you must spend time outdoors, consider wearing a well-fitted respirator type mask such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator.
There are approx. 8000 wildfires each year in Canada with human-caused events representing 55% and lightning 45% of all wildfires.
Jackie Beaudoin, Leclerc Insurance and Financial Services
Source: Health Canada