10 Essentials for Homeowners Dealing with Wildfire Smoke
Be prepared with our comprehensive guide on everything you need to protect your family from wildfire smoke.
Wildfires are becoming more frequent and dangerous, posing threats to both the environment and our health. The smoke from these fires can significantly decrease indoor air quality, putting you and your family at risk. It’s crucial to adapt your emergency plans to this new reality, and with longer wildfire seasons predicted, being prepared is essential.
This guide is designed to help homeowners minimize the impact of wildfire smoke in their homes. Read on to find a variety of must-have products like air purifiers, HVAC filters, safety goggles, and emergency radios, all designed to help you manage smoke effectively.
1. Air Purifier
Air purifiers are essential for maintaining indoor air quality during wildfires. They filter out harmful particulates and toxins and protect your respiratory health in the process. Look for purifiers with HEPA filters or activated carbon filters since they can filter out ultra-fine particles and help remove smoke odor. This Alen BreatheSmart Air Purifier is an excellent choice, with its HEPA filter boasting the ability to block up to 99.9 percent of particles as small as 0.1 microns.
2. HVAC Filters
Upgrade your HVAC filters to ones that are rated for smoke, with ratings of MERV 13 or higher. These will filter out the fine particulates that make up wildfire smoke. The HDX Premium Pleated Air Filter is particularly effective with its FPR 10, MERV 13 rating. This suggests it can filter out smaller particles like dust, smoke, and bacteria that lower-rated filters may miss. When a nearby wildfire is forecast, make sure to swap out your HVAC filter for a fresh one to ensure optimal performance.
3. N95 Masks
Before the pandemic, many of us had never heard of an N95 mask, but they’ve now become essential tools for both avoiding the spread of illness and protecting against the negative effects of wildfire smoke on the respiratory system. The 3M 9205+ Aura Particulate N95 Respirator is an excellent choice due to its comfort and functionality. Its innovative design ensures a secure fit, reducing the chances of unfiltered air leaking into the mask. It’s important to note that regular surgical masks or cloth masks won’t cut it for this purpose.
4. Weather Stripping
Sealing windows and doors can prevent smoke from seeping into your home. This is especially important for older homes where the sealing may have degraded. Using weather stripping prevents the intrusion of harmful smoke particles and also improves energy efficiency by reducing heat loss or gain. The type of product you need will depend on a variety of factors, but the Frost King R338H Self-Stick Rubber Foam Weatherseal is a great place to start.
5. Protective Goggles
Safety goggles are a crucial protective measure in situations involving wildfire smoke. These fine particles can cause eye irritation, redness, and uncomfortable dryness. Safety goggles, like these ones from DeWalt create a seal around the eyes, preventing smoke and particulate matter from entering the wearer’s eyes. They’re especially beneficial for those who need to venture outside during wildfires or those with pre-existing eye conditions.
A high-quality flashlight is a key component of any emergency preparedness kit, including those in close proximity to wildfires. Since wildfires can cause power outages, it’s essential to have a reliable source of light. A flashlight like this one from Streamlight helps you navigate in the dark, has an excellent battery life, and offers a variety of operating modes.
7. A Backup Generator
Investing in a backup generator is a smart choice for all homeowners, particularly in areas susceptible to wildfires. Wildfires can disrupt power lines, leading to prolonged outages. Having a backup generator ensures that essential appliances and systems—like kitchen appliances, HVAC systems, and chargers for devices—continue to function. The Champion Power Equipment Generator can be fueled by either gasoline or propane and can provide power for up to 10 hours on a full 7.7-gallon gasoline tank.
8. Bottled Water
Bottled water is a key part of any emergency preparedness plan, especially during wildfire incidents. Wildfires can compromise local water supplies due to contamination from debris and ash or damage to water treatment facilities. Having a safe, reliable source of hydration is essential for survival, and is also needed for cooking and sanitation purposes. This 6-pack of 128-ounce bottles of Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water is a great place to start.
9. Emergency Radio
An emergency radio is a key tool for staying informed in crisis situations. Models like the Midland Emergency Weather Alert Radio provide access to important information, including evacuation orders, emergency instructions, weather updates, and recovery resources. This model also has built-in Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology to make sure that users always receive alerts related to their home region.
10. Mobile Power Bank
In emergency situations, having a power bank for mobile devices is extremely beneficial. Your phone is your lifeline, connecting you to emergency services, providing real-time updates and maps, and letting you communicate with loved ones. This model from Riapow has a high 26800mAh battery capacity and is solar-powered, meaning you’ll continue to be able to charge your devices over and over again.