Health risks don’t end when the wildfires are contained. Even when you can safely return to your home or the air is good enough to begin outdoor work, take a few simple steps to clean up ash safely and maintain good indoor air quality:
- Air out your home when air quality improves.
- Spray areas lightly with water and clean using damp cloths. Direct ash-filled water to ground areas and away from the runoff system.
- Keep a “fire watch” and look for smoke or sparks outdoors and indoors.
- Vacuum with genuine HEPA filters or use a high-quality shop/industrial vacuum outfitted with a high-efficiency particulate filter and a disposable collection filter bag. Ash can be bagged and put into trash cans, so it will not be stirred up again into the air. Special attachments can be used to clean ash from gutters so that it will not blow back over outdoor spaces.
- If you are using a broom, sweep gently so you don’t stir up ash. NEVER use a leaf blower.
- Everyone should avoid skin contact with ash, and no one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash cleanup.
For more wildfire resources: visit https://www.ready.gov/wildfires
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