Safety

Clean air in a wildfire: Preparing your hospital's air filtration system for smoke and particulates

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, October 22, 2020

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Preparing your hospital’s air filtration system for smoke and smog

by Brian Ward

With over 100 fires destroying entire towns and displacing hundreds of thousands of people, 2020 was one of the worst wildfire seasons on record for the West Coast (see Healthcare under fire: Treating patients during the 2020 wildfires).

The smoke released from these fires was visible from space and caused air quality warnings across Washington, Oregon, and California. On peak smoke days, officials urged people to stay indoors to avoid breathing in smoke particles. Residents were advised to keep their windows and doors shut and filter their incoming air the best they could. 

An increase in smoke also puts more pressure on air filtration systems for hospitals and clinics. Filters get loaded down faster, smoke particles enter the building, and patients and staff are put at risk—particularly people with heart or lung disease, elderly patients, and children. 

Wildfires are only expected to grow in intensity and frequency, and hospitals and healthcare organizations need to ensure that they’re able to keep the air in their facility clean, no matter what.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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