HEPA Filters and Wildfire Smoke

As I stepped into Trego School on a warm smoky afternoon, I developed a sudden admiration for HEPA filters. About a month ago, I wrote about the school’s new HEPA filters, purchased as part of their Health and Safety plan. As it turns out, HEPA filters are excellent for wildfire smoke.

HEPA filters are good at filtering out the really small, which is what the most harmful particles in wildfire smoke are. Last week, as our air quality worsened, I wrote about the problems associated with breathing smoke, such as headaches and coughing.

The tiniest particles of smoke (less than 2.5 microns) are the most dangerous. This is because they are small enough to find their way deep into the lungs, some even reaching the bloodstream. When air quality is monitored, it is these tiny particles that are of utmost concern.

Fortunately, HEPA filters are quite capable of removing these tiny particles from the air. With air quality as poor as it has been, stepping into Trego School last week was a literal breath of fresh air. The filters turn themselves on automatically if air quality worsens. They remain quiet, and are present in each of the school’s classrooms.

Since children are among “sensitive groups” that the EPA expects to be most impacted by wildfire smoke, the HEPA filters seem to have been an especially good investment for the school, one which will continue to be useful in years to come.

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