Protect Against Wildfire Smoke by Creating a Clean Air Room

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department are encouraging Santa Barbara County residents to plan for poor air quality caused by future wildfire smoke. Smoke and ash from wildfires contain very small particles known as particulate matter. These particles are harmful to the lungs and heart and can cause coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea and in severe cases premature death. People with heart or lung disease, seniors, children and pregnant women are particularly sensitive to smoking.

The best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible when there is smoke. Take these steps to ensure your family has safe indoor air quality.

1. Choosing and Using an Air Purifier

  • Choose a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) cleaner to reduce indoor fine dust by 90 percent. These can be purchased at hardware stores or online retailers.

  • Make sure the unit is not creating ozone – find a list of safe options online: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/aircleaners/certified.htm

  • HEPA cleaners come in different brands and models, suitable for different room sizes.

  • Use the air purifier in a room where you spend a lot of time, such as a bedroom.

  • Check your windows and doors and make sure the room is closed tightly so smoke from outside isn’t drawn in.

  • Replace the filter as instructed in the user manual. Filters should be replaced more often if used during a wildfire.

2. Make your own air purifier

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