Protecting Indoor Workspaces from Wildfire Smoke

Learn about the dangers of wildfire smoke and how to protect your employees from it with air purification.

The increase of wildfires in the US means that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is also on the rise. Employers and facility managers must find ways to alleviate poor air quality in the workplace and mitigate employee exposure during the wildfire season. 

This article will cover how to stay healthy on the West Coast, in the Pacific Northwest, or any other part of the United States when there is a wildfire. 

The Dangers of Wildfire Smoke and Indoor Air Quality

Wildfires produce a lot of smoke and pollutants—which can have severe health impacts. 

One study found approximately 3,000 indirect deaths from the effects of wildfire smoke in 2020. In 2021, there were 58,985 wildfires in the US. With 7.7 million acres already burned in 2021, the trend is only rising. 

The excess of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is the most hazardous type of pollutant for areas affected by wildfire smoke. PM2.5 from wildfire smoke contains plants, particle pollutants, and building materials. It also consists of benzene, nitrogen dioxide, trioxygen, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, methane, and other volatile organic compounds

Wildfire smoke can stick around an area, making the atmosphere unsafe. This can then enter offices, hospitals, universities, colleges, and schools. This is why it is vital that indoor workplaces in areas with lots of wildfire smoke invest in air purification technology. When wildfires are rampant, it can be hard to breathe and cause health problems, even for people who spend most of their time indoors. Smoke exposure is especially a concern for those with respiratory conditions, worsening lung disease like asthma, or other conditions. 

How to Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality From Wildfires

There are several ways for employers to ensure that the indoor air quality in your workplace remains satisfactory, such as:

  • Ensure HVAC units have a working air purifier and fans are functioning correctly and circulating the air inside the workspace efficiently and safely.
  • Request that workers keep windows and doors closed as much as possible and limit trips in and out of doors when outdoor air quality is poor.
  • Suggest wearing respiratory protection, such as masks when leaving and entering the workplace—the CDC recommends using NIOSH-approved N95 or KN95 masks for filtering fine particulate matter.

Most importantly, using an air purifier is the best way to protect indoor workplaces from wildfire smoke exposure. 

Air Purification for Cleaner Indoor Air During Wildfires

Air purifiers are a great way to provide employers, employees, and your facility with healthy, clean air. It’s also vital for occupational safety. If you require an efficient way to filter out the microscopic smoke particulates in wildfire smoke, then a HEPA air purifier is the best option. 

Air purification will reduce this unhealthy air pollution, and also benefits those who suffer from sensitivities, respiratory issues, and allergies.

Keeping doors and windows shut can help prevent fine particles from the smoke from coming into a facility, but it won't remove all of it. To get the clean air we need to keep safe, look for a powerful air purifier with HEPA filters

These types of filters remove up to 99% of PM2.5 from the air and will do wonders for your IAQ. With a sufficiently sized air cleaner, you may be able to nearly eliminate wildfire smoke near office buildings, limiting the exposure of hazardous particulate matter in your facility.

Prepare for the Hazards of Wildfire Smoke 

Wildfires are often uncontrolled and are more likely to happen in dry conditions, like droughts and in windy conditions. Not only do wildfires cause damage to property, crops, and resources, but they also affect air quality. 

Fires produce pollution that contaminates our atmosphere. Mass amounts of wildfire smoke can make the air so dense that particles are visible to the human eye and enter dwellings and commercial buildings, making it unsafe to stay indoors without extra protective measures. 

It's best to be prepared, especially if you live in an area with a higher risk. Wildfire regions are expanding, and fires caused by lightning strikes or human activity are more common due to extreme heat and changes in rainfall due to climate change.

How to Ensure Your Indoor Workspace is Safe

Wildfires can have devastating health effects, including contaminating the air. Consider using an air purifier to protect your indoor air quality for your facility. 

Air purifiers with sealed HEPA filters have a double-action and can clean the air both in the room and outside. This matters because pollution particles can move through the air, so cleaning the air inside is not enough. 

Purifiers can filter out air pollution from wildfire smoke, along with pet dander and fumes from gas stoves, cleaning products, and beauty products. 
At Sanalife, we care about your indoor air safety. We have a range of products that can be custom-designed to improve your IAQ, such as our portable air purifiers and air purification of HVAC system components such as air conditioning solutions. Reach out to Sanalife today!

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