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How to Keep Air in Your Home Clean When it Comes to Wildfires

How to Keep Air in Your Home Clean When it Comes to Wildfires

All things pandemics aside (well, maybe not entirely), other climate-related influences this past year have dramatically increased awareness of air quality. The recent wildfires in California and other parts of the country have many people more concerned than ever about the quality of the air they breathe and how to purify it.

The result is a huge increase in people purchasing hospital-grade air purifiers or commercial grade air purifiers to keep the air in their homes clean. Whether or not you live in the direct line of any wildfires, the secondhand smoke can sometimes be even more dangerous. 

Know the Dangers of Wildfire Smoke

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “[natural] smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn.” It is typically anywhere from very light gray to black in color and has a distinct smell. But if you have been close to a fire or smoke before, you likely encountered some of the discomfort that goes along with breathing it in, since smoke is known to irritate the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat.

In addition to more mild discomfort such as watering or burning eyes, itchy throat, and/or coughing, the fine particles of wildfire smoke can be extremely dangerous when inhaled. These tiny particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause serious health effects both short- and long-term.

Certain populations, like people with asthma, COPD, or heart disease and children, pregnant women, and first responders are much more at risk for developing health issues as a result of breathing in wildfire smoke. According to the CDC, there are many more signs that you are being affected by inhaling smoke than just coughing or watering eyes. If you are near an area where a wildfire is burning, be on the lookout for additional signs like trouble breathing, asthma attacks, irritated sinuses, headaches, fatigue, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats to determine if you are being affected by smoke inhalation.

Be Prepared and Limit Outside Airflow

In certain areas, wildfires are almost expected at certain times of year. While that might not deter people from living in those areas, it’s crucial to be prepared for anything when living in a wildfire-prone area. This includes establishing an evacuation plan or having an emergency shelter-in-place. The CDC has a comprehensive wildfire preparation guide, outlining the importance of planning ahead, keeping emergency supplies like respirators, and emphasising the control of airflow in your space if smoke is unavoidable. Make sure you have a designated room to seal off outside air from (close all windows and doors and cover any holes or gaps) and have an air filter with you. AirNow (in conjunction with the EPA) provides a detailed look at air filters and which might be the best options for you in case of a wildfire; the guide reiterates that “filters with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) rating, (or MERV 17-20) are the most efficient.”

Invest in High-Quality Air Purifiers

With that said, it might be the perfect time for you to invest in a proper HEPA filter, especially if you live in a region potentially affected by wildfires. As we all know from this past year, smoke can travel quite far from the fires it originates from—just because you’re in the next state over doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be prepared. The College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University covered smoke travel via jet streams in a piece from earlier this year, further detailing the harmful effects of wildfire and wildfire smoke and its potential reach across the country (and beyond).

Though many wildfires are preventable (see Smokey Bear for more thorough information), some will be unavoidable. For those instances, knowing you have a reliable, hospital-grade air purifier to keep the air inside your home clean and breathable will provide priceless relief. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, a list of the best go-to air purifiers for wildfire smoke was released, with Rensair obviously making the cut. Labeled “an extremely potent cleanser,” Rensair is listed as essentially the most powerful air purifier currently on the market; as such, it’s an easy choice when deciding how to prepare yourself for an emergency.

An important thing to remember when investing in potentially life-saving equipment is that Rensair combines the ease of use, portability, and efficiency of all the best air purifiers into one perfect, hospital-grade air purifier. You wouldn’t cut corners on a security system or smoke detector—why take the risk when it comes to clean air, especially during emergencies that leave little room for decision making? Know your plan, trust your supplies, and always be prepared for wildfires. A few moments of preparation now will mean a few moments of relief in the future.