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PEHSU Factsheet: Children's Health and Wildfires > What should I do during a wildfire?

What should I do during a wildfire?

posted on Sep 3, 2021
  • Keep children indoors with the doors and windows closed. If you have an air conditioner, run it with the fresh-air intake closed (recirculate mode), if you can, to keep outdoor smoke from getting indoors. Use your portable air cleaner as well. 
  • Keep the indoor air as clean as possible: 
    • Avoid smoking and vaping
    • Avoid using gas, propane, or wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or candles. 
    • Avoid ozone-generating air cleaners. 
    • Avoid natural gas or gasoline-powered generators indoors. 
    • Avoid using unnecessary chemical products. 
    • Avoid frying or broiling meat 
    • Avoid vacuuming (unless vacuum has a HEPA filter).
  • All of these lead to poor air quality.
  • A period of improved air quality is a good time to open windows to air out the house and clean away dust that has settled indoors. 
  • If it looks or smells smoky outside or if local air quality reports, health warnings, or the Air Quality Flag Program tell you the air quality is bad, wait until air quality is better before your family is active outdoors.
  • Pay attention to announcements on the radio, TV, or online about changing conditions, cancelled events, or evacuation. Indoors, reduce health risks by avoiding strenuous activities. 
  • N95 or Surgical Masks: Children may be able to get some protection from wildfire smoke from N95 masks or surgical masks, but only if they are fitted tightly to the face. Your child can use a mask safely if they can tell you about any problems they have with the mask. If your child is uncomfortable or says that it is hard to breathe, take it off. Use masks only for short periods where your child must be outdoors (i.e. travel between home and school). For more on mask use, visit: https://www.pehsu.net/Wildfires_and_Mask_Use.html