Recommendations when exposed to Dump Fires

April 27, 2008

1. If you are located in an area where you can smell smoke, or you experience symptoms of cough, eye, nose, mouth, or throat irritation, then move indoors and stay there with the windows closed as long as it is safe to do so.
2. If you continue to smell smoke and experience these symptoms when indoors, then consider evacuating to another location, away from the fire and smoke.
3. If you have asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis that do not respond to your regular medications or you have severe symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea, prolonged cough, sore throat, or shortness-of-breath, visit an urgent care/emergency room or contact your medical provider.
4. Avoid ongoing exposure to smoke—if smoke is causing eye, nose, throat, or lung irritation, remain indoors or leave the area if possible.
5. Listen for public messages of additional precautions that would be announced if conditions change. At most, persons within the area affected by the smoke plume might be advised to evacuate the area.
6. For more severe shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased mental function or other life-threatening condition, call 911 immediately
Notes: In a CDC survey of persons exposed to smoke during a fire in California
• Fewer symptoms were reported in persons who ran a Hepa filter in their homes.
• Personal masks were not helpful because smoke particles are too small to be filtered
• Public Service Announcements were successful in encouraging persons to stay indoors.
Like cigarette smoke, forest and dump fire smoke can eventually damage your body’s ability to remove large particles from smoke and excess phlegm from your lungs and airway.