Summer in Canada is synonymous with warm weather, vacations and the opportunity to spend more time outdoors. However, it also marks the beginning of wildfire season. Forest fires are common from May to September in Canada’s forested regions, especially in western Canada. Each year, an average of 8000 wildfires occur, and approximately an area of 2.5 million hectares is burned. In recent years, wildfires have had a big impact on Alberta, as well as on the communities Albertans visit in the summer, such as interior B.C.
Unfortunately, this natural hazard is getting worse due to climate change, which has devastating consequences. These consequences include health risks derived from the wildfire smoke along with a decrease in air quality in the places where the fires occur.
We can mitigate the health effects of wildfire smoke by being proactive in our homes and communities. These are our suggestions to prepare for a smoky summer.
This year, we “enjoyed” a wetter spring than usual; that’s why the wildfire season had a subdued start. But summer is just getting started, temperatures are rising, and Alberta and British Columbia are already experiencing some limited wildfire activity, so Canadians need to be preparing for any upcoming wildfires and the increase of air pollution.
The pandemic made people more aware of the importance of monitoring the quality of the air we breathe, especially indoors. This has led to building managers and homeowners to prioritising the maintenance of ventilation systems.
That is a good practice we must take into account during fire season, since an adequate air ventilation system not only prevents the transmission of diseases, it also helps to remove and filter the smoke from forest fires that can sneak into the interior spaces. To prevent smoke from entering your home, set your ventilation system to recirculate the air.
Health Canada recommends the use of a good quality, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in ventilation systems to fight wildfire smoke during the summer, and make sure to clean it frequently.
Adding the use of an air purifier at home is also a great idea, especially to protect people more vulnerable to the effects of smoke, such as the seniors, children, pregnant people, and people with chronic illnesses.
Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of dangerous gases, including carbon monoxide at levels that are very dangerous to health. It’s essential to install at least one CO monitor with audible alarm indoors, such as commercial parkades and residential buildings, to alert the occupants and evacuate in case of an emergency due to high levels of CO.
Canadian and provincial authorities provide helpful weather and health information and services to support the population during the wildfire season. There are dedicated websites and apps with real-time information about the weather, current wildfires, air quality alerts, and current air conditions to help you know how to act in case of an emergency and reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke.
Wildfires are natural events we have to deal with every summer, but we can prevent and reduce the risks and damages that can cause by being proactive and preparing ourselves, our communities, and our homes. Gasonic rents out equipment for building owners to test their ventilation systems to make sure their occupants are breathing clean air throughout the wildfire season, contact us for more information.
Bump Testing the CO Monitors in Your Parkade: Save Money, Save Lives ...READ MORE
How Clean is the Indoor Air You're Breathing? 4 Signs You Need to Be Aware Of ...READ MORE
Residential vs. Commercial Carbon Monoxide Monitoring: What’s the Difference? ...READ MORE
Copyright©2021, Gasonic. All rights reserved.