Air Quality Expert Sarah Coefield on Wildfire Smoke Ready Week
As timely as could possibly have been, Missoula City County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield was on the KGVO Talk Back show the very day that an Air Quality Alert was announced due to wildfire smoke.
Coefield and the health department want everyone to know that this week has been set aside to provide important information about keeping people safe by making their indoor air quality a priority.
“This is Wildfire Smoke Ready Week,” said Coefield. “It is an opportunity for us to kind of flood the airwaves and try to tell folks all the simple steps you can take to create cleaner indoor air spaces and get through this fire season. We also have some information about what to do if you have to be outside and how to stay as safe as possible.”
Indoors or out, Coefield said Missoula residents need to do everything possible to protect their health from wildfire smoke.
“If you go to Montana Wildfire Smoke dot org, it's a terrific website with all the information you could really need about how to stay safe in different situations, how to create clean Indoor air, and what to do for different home setups and commercial buildings,” she said. “Also, what to do if you have to be outside, if you're an outdoor worker, some considerations you can have for staying as healthy as possible because some folks have to be outside and so there's some things that they can do to try to stay safer during what could be a long smoke season.”
Coefield said the first priority for everyone is to protect themselves and their families from the present heat wave.
“Well, first wildfire smoke is really bad for you, but the heat will kill you faster,” she said. “It is very, very important to cool down your home. So if you can tolerate some smoke, and this is this is a terrible thing to say, you have to open your windows. You have to let that cooler air in, and you have to cool down your home. The most recent heat wave is estimated to have killed several hundreds of people across Pacific Northwest, so far. We have another one on the horizon, so you have to be able to cool down your home and unfortunately that does mean smoke is going to come inside.”
As part of Wildfire Smoke Ready Week, Coefield said there will be a special presentation on Wednesday evening at Imagine Nation Brewing on West Broadway.
“At Imagination Brewing from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. we will be there as with an ‘Ask the Expert’ opportunity for folks who have more questions or would like to have had those conversations about what to do during a wildfire smoke season. I'll be there as well as a Tom Javins who is a local expert engineer on the subject. And then we will also be taste testing in the new beer for wildfire smoke ready week, called Deep Breath.”
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