Are you Smoke Ready? From June 12 to June 16, public health agencies and local governments are sharing information and resources on how to be ready for wildfire smoke for Smoke Ready Week.
While at low risk from wildfires, the City of Wood Village regularly experiences the effects of wildfire smoke each year. In order to stay prepared for wildfire smoke season, learn how to read the Air Quality Index and follow these tips to stay Smoke Ready.
Think of the Air Quality Index (AQI) as a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
For each pollutant an AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to an ambient air concentration that equals the level of the short-term national ambient air quality standard for protection of public health. AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is unhealthy: at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher.
The AQI is divided into 6 categories. Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. Each category also has a specific color. The color makes it easy for people to quickly determine whether air quality is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities.
Check out this Smoke Ready Brochure for low to no-cost options to keep your home smoke ready.
Smoke Ready Checklist
Are you Smoke Ready?
S - Stay Informed
Keep up-to-date with local air quality reports and weather forecasts.
M - Mitigate Exposure
Decide with your healthcare provider if using a "particulate respirator" or N95 respirator is right for you during outdoor activities.
O - Optimize Indoor Air Quality
Close windows and doors, use air purifiers (purchased or DIY), and avoid activities that generate indoor air pollution.
K - Keep A Smoke Readiness Plan
Develop a specific plan for household members who are sensitive to smoke, such as individuals with respiratory issues of the elderly. This plan may include additional precautions, evacuate plans, and access to necessary medications or specialized equipment.
E - Emphasize Mental Health
Consider ideas to stay mentally strong during a smoke event, such as medication, connection with loved ones, or seeking support form mental health professionals if needed.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put together a list of resources to help the public connect with information on smoke readiness, including:
Help kids understand the Air Quality Index with help from Coco! Check out Coco in the video below or in the picture books “Why is Coco Orange?” and in the sequel “Why is Coco Red?“.
Coco has a problem. He’s a chameleon, but he can’t change colors, and his asthma is acting up. Read how Coco and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy when the air quality is bad. These books are for all children, especially those with asthma, and their caretakers. Ages 4 to 8.