- May is Wildfire Awareness Month and schools should prepare to mitigate the harmful health effects wildfire smoke has on the indoor air in buildings by utilizing Certified HEPA filters and portable Air Filtration solutions provided by Box Pure Air
- For wildfire smoke, the US Association of Home Appliances (AHAM) recommends a smoke CADR equal to the square feet of a room, which is 33% higher than the smoke CADR for regular smoke.
- The California EPA suggests HEPA filtration be used anytime the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 100. A reading of '101-150' is categorized as being "unhealthy for sensitive groups," and a reading of '151-200' is deemed "unhealthy for everyone"
CHARLESTON, S.C., May 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Wildfire season has become a year-round concern for many regions of the country. Even at this moment, there are several active fires burning across the southwestern United States. May is recognized as Wildfire Awareness Month for many, especially regions that are greatly impacted. When a wildfire occurs nearby, the decision to close or evacuate a school is inevitable. However, as we have seen over the past several years, wildfire smoke can settle in communities hundreds of miles from the location of the fire and impact the health of students and school district operations. Schools can take steps to prepare for days with smoky air and protect their students' health, including purchasing and having ready-to-deploy BOX Pure Air Certified HEPA filters and portable Air Filtration products. On smoky days, schools should keep children indoors if the air quality is 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' or worse and it is essential to deploy solutions to improve indoor air quality. Schools can utilize federal money including the $121 Billion allocated through the federal COVID relief funds to improve indoor air for students and staff dealing with the effects of smoke during wildfire season as well as protect from airborne pathogens such as SARS Covid-2.
Peak wildfire season typically occurs during late summer into early fall when there has been little rainfall for an extended period of time. With money currently available to schools across the country, there has never been a better time to simultaneously invest in indoor air purification and wildfire preparedness to ensure healthy indoor air quality for staff, teachers, and students. High concentrations of smoke can trigger a range of symptoms including burning eyes, a runny nose, cough, phlegm, wheezing, and difficulty breathing which is particularly problematic if you have asthma, or heart or lung disease.
During wildfire season, smoke can pollute the air. Children are particularly at risk for health effects from exposure to wildfire smoke and ash, mostly because their lungs are still in the process of developing. Hazardous air pollutants, such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde, and benzene contribute to the cumulative irritant properties of smoke. These air pollutants are of concern because of their differential impact on infants and children compared to adults. Outdoor air pollution, such as wildfire smoke, must be addressed in school buildings alongside the implementation of the indoor air quality improvements recommended to reduce potential airborne exposure to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. For indoor spaces, ventilation and filtration need to be optimized.
"Every environmental and clean building organization agrees that one of the highest priorities in combating poor and unhealthy indoor air quality caused by wildfire smoke is the combination of increasing airflow and increasing the level of filtration," said BOX Pure Air CEO, Ryan Cowell; "People often look to solve indoor air quality issues by opening windows or doors, but in areas affected by wildfires, letting in outside air only makes things worse. This is a problem that must be treated from the inside out and portable air purification is the best and most efficient way of doing so."
In addition to the coughing, wheezing and overall difficulty breathing caused by smoke produced from wildfires, consequences also include school closures. Creating a safer school environment using portable HEPA air purifiers can reduce some of those lost days. For example, the state of California had 34,183 cumulative days missed due to emergency closures (weather, natural disasters, student safety, etc.) across public schools between 2002 and 2019. Of those, 21,442 days have been due to wildfires affecting 6,542 schools and over three million students.
According to the California EPA, portable HEPA air purifiers should be used in classrooms any time the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 100. BOX Pure Air HEPA filters are 99.99% effective in removing the most penetrating particle size of 0.3 microns meaning they can clean the air of any size dust particle blown in from a wildfire. Box Pure Air's HEPA Filters and Certified HEPA Portable Air Purification products are in compliance with FEMA guidelines when treating air quality issues caused by natural disasters.
One of the keys to maintaining a safe indoor air school environment that protects students, teachers, and staff during wildfire season is to avoid letting outdoor air contaminated by wildfire smoke into the building. Deploying and positioning powerful portable air filtration systems is key. Box Pure Air's industrial suite of products were designed to filter and clean the air in commercial and educational settings. Our Certified HEPA filters can be ordered separately to work with existing systems in addition to a combination of our Mesa and Peak units that can be used in combination for classrooms and office settings. For large spaces such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, and libraries we recommend our Apex 2.0 unit.
"The benefits of using Certified HEPA portable air purifiers to treat wildfire smoke can play out right before our eyes, watching smoke clear out of a classroom for example." According to Ryan Cowell, CEO of Box Pure Air; "There are other sensory benefits from the use of our products as well. Our odor-fighting carbon filter treats the smoke smell, which can be a lingering issue for schools all year round unless treated promptly."
For more information on BOX Pure Air and our products visit www.boxpureair.com.
For more information on wildfire preparedness guides, live maps, and wildfire building guidelines, visit Wildfire Resources.
About BOX Pure Air
Box Pure Air strives to provide the best products to help clean air through the deployment of high-efficiency air purification technologies.
SOURCE Box Pure Air
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