The health effects of wildfire smoke
Although there are many hazardous chemicals in wildfire smoke, the main harmful pollutant for people who are not very close to the fire is “particulate matter,” the tiny particles suspended in the air.
Particulate matter can irritate the lungs and cause persistent coughing, phlegm, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. Particulate matter can also cause more serious problems, such as reduced lung function, bronchitis, worsening of asthma, heart failure, and early death.
People over 65 and people who already have heart and lung problems are the most likely to suffer from serious health effects.
the right to obtain medical treatment
Employers shall allow employees who show signs of injury or illness due to wildfire smoke exposure to seek medical treatment, and may not punish affected employees for seeking such treatment.
Employers shall also have effective provisions made in advance for prompt medical treatment of employees in the event of serious injury or illness caused by wildfire smoke exposure.
PC employees should notify their supervisor and HR within 24 hours of any workplace-caused injury or illness, including those related to work-related wildfire smoke exposure.
how employees can obtain the current air QUALITY index (AQI) for PM2.5
In the event of a wildfire, PC administration and/or the PC Public Information Officer will provide Air Quality Index (AQI) information to the campus community. However, individuals can also monitor the AQI by visiting one of the following websites:
How to properly put on, use, and maintain the respirator provided by the employer
The manufacturer’s instructions will inform the user of how to properly put on, use, and maintain that specific respirator. The following are general guidelines:
- To be effective, respirators must have a tight seal around the user’s face.
- Facial hair should not interfere with the seal of the mask.
- N95 filtering facepiece respirators are disposable and should be replaced at the beginning of each work shift.
- Respirator filters or N95 filtering facepiece respirators should be replaced if they are damaged, heavily soiled, or are difficult to breathe through.
- If you have symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or nausea, go to an area with cleaner air, take off the respirator, and seek medical attention.
for additional information
This presentation is designed to be in compliance with Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Standard, CCR Title 8, Sec. 5141.1. Please call Campus Safety and Security 559-791-2440 for additional information.
Created with images by Jeremy Perkins - "My dad is a radio tech for the state of California. He usually gets sent to work on radio towers during wildfires in the Sierra Nevada mountains. He took this gorgeous photo with his iPhone. If you zoom in, you can see the flames behind the mountain peak! This photo was too gorgeous not to share." • Waldemar Brandt - "untitled image"