Take these steps to protect your health on smoky days:
- Check the air quality forecast. Air quality conditions may change quickly. Go to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website for air quality information.
- Stay indoors when possible.
- Keep indoor air clean.
- If your health condition gets worse (e.g., asthma), contact your health care provider.
- Prepare for wildfire smoke season today. Review the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Smoke-Ready Toolbox.
For the General Public:
Clean Indoor Air Locations
When air quality is unhealthy, residents can access locations throughout the community that are open to the public with clean indoor air. A sample of locations in Marin County is provided in the link below. Please call first to verify the facility is open and space is available.
Clean Indoor Air Locations (PDF) | Google Map
Please be aware that with shifting winds and poor wildfire containment air quality can change drastically in a short period of time.
Smoke from wildfires can affect health. The most common symptoms are eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Those with health problems, especially heart or respiratory conditions, should take extra caution. Follow these precautions to protect your health:
- Minimize outdoor activities.
- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- Do not run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside.
- Run your air-conditioner only if it does not bring smoke in from the outdoors.
- Consider leaving the area until smoke conditions improve if you experience symptoms related to smoke exposure.
For Outdoor Workers:
- Limit exertion;
- Take frequent breaks;
- If prolonged outdoor activity is unavoidable, proper masks (for example N95 masks) can protect against harmful exposure.
- Bandanas and typical surgical masks DO NOT protect against wildfire smoke particles.
- Consult with your employer if you have specific concerns.
- Outdoor activities should be limited.
- Windows and doors should be kept shut as much as possible.
- When air quality is unhealthy, activities such as athletic events or practices should be cancelled or rescheduled.
- Watch for symptoms and take action as needed.
- Students with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and keep their quick-relief medicine close at hand.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
Contact your health care provider if you experience the following symptoms that do not improve after moving indoors or into a safe air quality environment:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Nausea or unusual fatigue
- Lightheadedness and/or feeling faint
Information on Masks:
The following do not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke:
- Bandanas or towels (wet or dry) or tissue held over the mouth and nose.
- Paper “dust mask” or surgical masks that hooks around your ears.
For those who cannot avoid prolonged activities outdoors “respirator masks” labeled N95 or N100 may provide some protection.
- Individuals with respiratory conditions should consult their doctor before using a mask— masks can limit air flow and make it more difficult to breathe.
- The respirator masks do not seal well on people with facial hair or beard.
- Respirator masks are sized for adult faces and don’t provide protection for young children.
- Respirator masks filter fine particles but not gases in wildfire smoke.
- Respirators are sold at many pharmacies, hardware stores, and home repair stores.
- Employers of outdoor workers should offer respirator masks for their employees who cannot be placed on indoor duties.
As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.
For more information about air quality, go to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District webpage, www.baaqmd.gov.