wildfire season is here: do you know when you should close your patio?
It's become almost a yearly event. Smoke from nearby wildfires hangs over the Spokane area, creating hazardous conditions for anyone working or enjoying the outdoors.
Download this photo, print it out and post in your office to remind everyone when it is time to close the patio.
Remember: health officers have the authority to shut down any outdoor event or space when air quality is unhealthy. Dr. Bob Lutz said for the next couple of years, his team will work toward educating restaurants, rather than take punitive measures.
Click this photo to download a printable version.
In its most recent newsletter, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency recently included an article from Spokane Regional Health District Health Officer Bob Lutz that explains the hazards of smoky air.
Useful websites during wildfire events:
It's important to note that air quality sites don't report the air quality in real time, but an average of the last 24 hours.
How do you know when to close your patio?
According to the Department of Labor & Industries:
When air quality is in the unhealthy range, you will want to check your HVAC system's filters--the higher MERV, the better. You will also want to check all the doors and windows to make sure they have good seals. The idea is to minimize the amount of air coming into your restaurant or hotel. For more information on indoor air quality, read this flyer from the Washington State Department of Health.
"The AQI indicates when the outdoor air quality is "unhealthy", "very unhealthy", or "hazardous." These ratings signal when healthy workers may begin to experience adverse health effects. Additional factors to consider when determining if the outdoor air is harmful include how long workers are outside, the level of physical exertion, symptoms consistent with wildfire smoke exposure, and pre-existing medical conditions."