How to stay safe in a smoky sky in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As Smoke from out-of-state wildfire travels through Utah, creating smoky skies, health authorities are warning residents to take precautions.
At noon Friday, Salt Lake City has the worst air quality in the world, according to IQAir.
Salt Lake County Health Department air quality experts warn that even if you are not in the immediate vicinity of a fire, smoke can take a toll on your health, especially if you have a underlying health problem.
Smoke can enter your home through open windows and doors, of course, but also through your HVAC system, cracks, or other small openings.
SLCo Health offers eight tips based on EPA guidelines that can effectively improve the indoor air quality in your home and protect your health when outdoor air quality is poor due to smoke from wildfires. .
- Keep windows and doors closed: If you don’t have air conditioning, the EPA recommends using fans instead of opening your windows to stay cool, or seeking relief from the heat in a cold area of Salt Lake County.
- Limit the use of a swampy cooler: Evaporative coolers bring in air from outside to help cool the home; In a heat emergency, consider visiting a cold area instead of using a swampy cooler, or limit its use as much as possible.
- Close the fresh air intake vent on window AC units: If your air conditioning unit has a setting to recirculate air, use this option instead of “fresh” outside air. This also applies to central air systems: if there is a fresh air circulation option, try to temporarily deactivate it.
- Avoid adding to poor air quality by burning: Adding to smoke while burning or cooking outdoors during forest fires is not recommended. Things like recreational fires or smoker’s grills can make the air worse for you and your neighbors.
- Consider buying an indoor air purifier: The EPA recommends using indoor air purifiers on the highest possible setting during fires. If you have a central air system with filtration, run the system fan at the highest setting possible; this moves the air particles that have settled down and helps to remove them.
- Postpone house cleaning: Vacuuming can temporarily deteriorate the quality of your indoor air by raising dust and small particles, unless your vacuum cleaner is equipped with HEPA filtration. So, consider postponing cleaning your home until the smoke from the wildfire passes.
- Avoid being too active: If there’s an excuse for not training hard, especially outdoors, it’s during a smoke-related event. Cardiovascular exercise increases the amount of air you absorb into your lungs, so consider resting during large forest fires.
- Use N95 masks: If the air quality is visibly poor, use an N95 or KN95 mask outdoors; As cases increase, you will also help protect yourself from the public transmission of COVID.
Salt Lake County Health says reducing your overall exposure to smoke during wildfires is the best thing you can do to protect your lung health.
The Utah Air Quality Division is call the conditions a “red day”, air quality being so potentially harmful, it has been classified as “unhealthy”. Summer days in Utah are often labeled as “orange,” with air quality being “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” but Friday’s situation is considered unhealthy for all, officials said.
Bad air is should last all weekend, according to division spokesperson Ashley Sumner.