Child Care Health Alert - Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke - Unhealthy air quality
Amid the pandemic, the Pacific Northwest is having to deal with poor outdoor air quality from wildfires burning in California, Oregon, and Eastern Washington. Throughout the summer you have heard that being outdoors is safer than being indoors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When the air quality outside is hazardous, then child care providers need to keep children inside and keep windows closed. When staying inside, to reduce the spread of the virus, it is important to continue to wear face coverings and keep 6 feet of space between individuals as much as possible.
Outdoor air quality is measured using a color scale - green (good), yellow (moderate), orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups which includes children), red (unhealthy for everyone), and purple (very unhealthy). When the air quality in our region is in the orange to purple range, your child care should keep children and staff indoors. You can check the current conditions at the Department of Ecology's website: https://enviwa.ecology.wa.gov/home/map.
With the smoke levels high outside, windows should be kept closed as much as possible. HVAC/Ventilation systems should be set to recirculate air rather than bring in outside air.
Here are a few other good resources to understand more about wildfire smoke.
More information about outdoor air quality can be found in our online learning course (with optional STARS/In-service hours available for a fee).
Please contact the Child Care Health Outreach Program
if you have any questions: