3 Steps to Protecting Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

Wildfires create a serious amount of smoke and air pollution. Smoke that can cause short and long term health impacts. That’s why it’s important to know how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.

wildfire smoke and air pollution size pm2.5

Wildfire smoke is a form of air pollution. It contains dangerous VOC gases and small particles (PM2.5) that can cause serious health effects. This article will cover how to protect your health from wildfire smoke with three simple steps. Be it in California, Australia, or anywhere else in the world.

3 Steps to Protecting Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire Protection Tip 1: Stay Indoors and Close Windows

The easiest thing you can do to protect yourself against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors and seal your home from the outdoors. This includes shutting all doors and windows, to decrease the amount of wildfire smoke entering your home.

Just staying inside and limiting the amount of outdoor air that enters your home can reduce the smoke air pollution you breathe by 40%.

Shanghai Indoor Outdoor Air Quality Test Doors Closed PM2.5
Smart Air chart showing indoor air pollution versus outdoor air pollution

Wildfire Protection Tip 2: Wear a Mask When Outdoors

For most areas affected by wildfire smoke, the most dangerous air pollutant is small particulate matter called PM2.5. Fortunately, masks are great at filtering this out!

One of the best masks for filtering out air pollution from wildfire smoke is an N95 mask. An N95 mask is designed to filter out 95% or more of dangerous small .3 micron particle matter.

But what if you can not get your hand on an N95 mask? Well a surgical mask does a decent job as well filtering out these dangerous PM2.5 particles produced by the wildfire smoke. A standard surgical mask can reduce PM2.5 particulates by 63%, much better than nothing!

Surgical Masks Filter Out Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire Protection Tip 3: Turn On an Air Purifier When Indoors

Air purifiers are the best way to protect from wildfire smoke and ensure you are breathing pollution and smoke free air inside. Purifiers with HEPA filters are extremely effective at capturing danger PM2.5 particulate matter found in wildfire smoke.

While closing your doors and windows can reduce PM2.5 pollution by 50%, HEPA air filters can reduce PM2.5 from wildfire smoke by over 99%.

When selecting an air purifier, make sure the air purifier is powerful enough for your space size. With a sufficient air purifier(s), you can nearly eliminate wildfire smoke’s dangerous PM2.5 particulate matter from your home.

Blast Mini HEPA filter air purifier in office for protection against COVID coronavirus
The Blast Mini– powerful for larger areas of a home such as living rooms

Extra Tip: Use Carbon Filters in Addition to a HEPA Filter to Capture VOCs

HEPA filters do a great job filtering out ultra-fine particles like PM 2.5, but VOC gases are too small for them to capture. So what can you do to protect yourself against dangerous VOC gases in wildfire smoke? Carbon filters!

Activated Charcoal Filter

For filtering out VOCs such as benzene and formaldehyde, carbon filters are very effective.

Activated carbon removes VOC gases

In summary, to best protect yourself against ultra-fine particulate pollution and the dangerous VOC gases in wildfires, two purifiers are needed. One using a HEPA filter to filter out the ultra-fine particles, the other using a carbon filter to filter out the VOC gases.

Bottom Line: How Can Your Protect Yourself Against Wildfire Smoke?

1) Stay indoors, where air pollution is typically 30-40% lower.
2) Wear masks to filter out the ultra-fine particles (preferably N95, but surgical masks still have use)
3) Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter to remove ultra-fine particles from your home and a second air purifier with a carbon filter to remove dangerous VOCs.


How I Protect Myself

Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.

Check out the Sqair! (PS: You can now order a carbon filter for all four of Smart Air’s purifiers! )

Sqair Air Purifier

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Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifier and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.