Deschutes County Health Services encourages residents to prepare for wildfire season. With a fire-adapted landscape, it is important to prepare for smoke impacts and take steps to prevent wildfires.
Wildfire smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. To protect your health, you can take these preventive steps:
- If you, or a family member, have heart or lung disease, including asthma, check with your doctor about what you should do during smoke events.
- If you have a central air conditioner, ask an air conditioning professional what kind of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to use in your home’s system and how to close the fresh-air intake.
- Buy a portable air cleaner before there is a smoke event. Make sure it has a HEPA filter and is the right size for the room.
- Create a “clean room” in your home. Choose a room with no fireplace and as few windows and doors as possible, such as a bedroom. Use a portable air cleaner in the room, with the door shut.
- Know where to go for local information. You can find fire and smoke information at www.centraloregonfire.org.
- Sign up for emergency alerts: https://www.deschutes.org/911/page/sign-deschutes-emergency-alerts.
“It’s important to begin preparing for wildfire smoke early. In the past, we’ve seen stores run out of portable air cleaners” said Deschutes County Public Health Director Nahad Sadr-Adozi. “By preparing now, you can be ready and minimize potential health impacts.”
Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing health conditions and those who are particularly sensitive to air pollution. Contact your health care provider to develop a smoke plan. Sensitive groups include:
- Persons with asthma or other chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Persons with cardiovascular disease
- Persons 65 years of age or older
- Infants and children
- Pregnant women
- Smokers, especially those who have smoked for several years.
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