Northerly winds in Colorado brought smoke from the High Park Fire into southern Colorado, making for a smokey and hazy day.
Paramedics say they see the number of respiratory emergency calls skyrocket on days such as these, and stress prevention.
Daniel Vought with the Colorado Springs Fire Department said anybody with respiratory issues should be extra cautious by minimizing outdoor exposure and keeping their medications nearby.
“On days like today, it is important to remember that because of the particulate matter in the air, those are the things that can trigger an asthmatic attack,” said Vought.
Vought also recommends staying indoors, and keeping the windows shut.
Good advice, according to Elaine Gutierrez, but she says precautions need to be taken inside the home as well.
Gutierrez is the branch manager of Camfil Farr, an air solutions company specializing in filtration.
“Smoke is smaller particles and they are going to get into your lungs and you don’t want that. So going inside, using your air conditioning if you have the proper filtration will be good. It will actually help. If you have lower filtration, it’s not going to make a huge difference,” said Gutierrez.
She explained many in southern Colorado utilize a fiberglass filter, commonly found at local home improvement stores. Gutierrez said these filters are less than 20 percent efficient.
“It’s made for larger particles. It’s really not made for small particles, like smoke,” said Gutierrez.
There are other options, such as a pleated filter which traps a larger range of particulates, including smoke. These filters, according to Gutierrez, are 30-35 percent efficient. This filter does cost more than the fiberglass model.
“You’re probably looking at an $8 filter versus a $4 filter. So, as far as cost-wise, you’re getting a lot more for your money,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez cautions users to do their research, saying there are different types of pleated filters as well. The filter she recommends is a more efficient mechanical filter, which does not require electrostatic charge in order to trap particulates.
Gutierrez said filters that do require that electrostatic charge are commonly found at home improvement and hardware shops, and tend to be less efficient.
For clean air, it is also important to ensure the filter is changed every six months to one year depending on the usage.
For more information on air filters, head over to Camfil Farr’s website at http://www.camfilfarr.us/