Following the June heat wave, King County’s emergency management began reviewing the county’s prior preparation and response to prepare for future heat warnings.
KING COUNTY, Washington – West Washington is in the midst of yet another heat wave. While temperatures won’t be as extreme as they were in June, wildfire smoke could make this heat wave worse for some groups.
Brendan McCluskey, King County’s director of emergency management, said it was important that people have a plan to deal with the hot temperatures and look out for neighbors and loved ones who may be vulnerable to the conditions.
After the June heat wave, King County’s emergency management began looking at the county’s prior preparation and response and used that information to try to come up with a playbook to help them prepare for future heat warnings.
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“There are some things that we have learned and that we have started to implement, such as creating a playbook of our pre-heat wave activities and what we should do, including how we address people” McCluskey explained.
McCluskey said for that heatwave they were able to share information with people in 17 different languages in an attempt to prevent people from being at risk this time around.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency suggested residents keep their windows closed to prevent forest fire smoke from entering their homes.
“One of the first things we recommend people do is close their doors and windows because your home will naturally filter some of the smoke as it comes in,” explained Air Resource Specialist Graeme Carvlin.
The agency also recommended that people run air conditioning or their oven fan with recirculating air to filter the air in their homes.
Carvlin said that keeping your home cool and keeping smoky air out can sometimes become competing priorities when you don’t have air conditioning, but there’s strong evidence that smoky air can harm people’s health.
McCluskey said people need to realize that smoke from forest fires could be causing problems.
“Smoke is a concern for everyone, especially those who are vulnerable, such as those with heart and lung disease and the general population,” said McCluskey.
Below are some helpful links for information about smoky air: