In November 2018, our region was overcome with wildfire smoke for more than a week from the Camp Fire. Although this smoke event was unusual, Sacramento County Public Health and the Sac Metro Air District has important information and reminds the public that the fire season isn't over. Learn how to get prepared before the next smoke event happens:
Air Conditioner Settings and Filters
Consider Getting a California Air Resources Board certified Air Cleaner to Create a Clean Room
- Look at your air conditioner's settings for a re-circulating mode and learn how to re-circulate indoor air.
- Learn about high efficiently HEPA air filters that work with your air conditioner.
- Be sure you know how to replace your air filters.
- Have extra HEPA air filters available in your emergency kit.
Make A Plan for Temporary Relocation
- Portable air cleaners that are certified by the California Air Resources Board use HEPA filters to remove smoke and can be part of creating a “clean room."
- To create a clean room, establish the room you use the most with the fewest windows and doors. Use an appropriately sized portable air cleaner for the room.
- Note: “Ozone" air cleaners should not be used for smoke as they will make the air worse.
N95 Respiratory Masks
- If you don't have an air conditioner, or a system that allows for indoor air recirculation, or for those who are sensitive to smoke, develop a plan for a temporary relocation during smoke events.
- Cleaner, filtered air may be found at a public library or shopping mall.
Make a Plan for Your Health
- N95 masks should only be used as a last option. These masks may cause difficulty breathing. People with lung conditions should contact a healthcare provider before using an N95 mask.
- N95 masks are not made for children.
- During smoke events, N95 masks will likely be in short supply. Add N95 masks to your home and vehicle emergency kits now, so if you have no other options, they will be available during extreme wildfire smoke events.
- Dust/surgical masks, towels and bandanas are not effective against smoke.
- Exposures to wildfire smoke particulate matter can cause respiratory tract irritation, reduced lung function, bronchitis, and worsen asthma and other pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss how to manage chronic health conditions due to smoke exposure.
- Those with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.
Check out additional information to learn more about how to prepare for wildfire smoke:
Sacramento Region Air Quality Mobile App (free download in all app stores) – Air quality forecast and current readings at air monitors throughout the region.
Sacramento region's Spare The Air website – Daily forecast, current conditions, Spare The Air ozone alerts and wildfire smoke information: http://www.SpareTheAir.com
Sac Metro Air District Website – Daily forecast and wildfire smoke information:
Brenda Bongiorno, Sacramento County Communication and Media, 916-874-7798