Wildfires are increasing in the Pacific Northwest, leading to more days with unhealthy air quality from smoke. Children are at higher risk for health issues due to wildfire smoke since their airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also spend more time outdoors, leading to increased exposure. Schools can take steps to prepare for days with smoky air and protect their students’ health, starting with monitoring daily air quality levels using Washington’s Air Quality Monitoring Network. On smoky days, schools should keep children indoors if the air quality is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or worse.
Resources for schools
The following resources can assist school officials, facility managers and teachers in preparing for and reacting to unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke. These resources can help your school to respond quickly and effectively on days with unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke.
- Guidance on cancelling events or activities, and closing schools
- SUMMARY Wildfire Smoke: School Closure, Children’s Outdoor Activities Cancellation
- Washington Air Quality Advisory infographic
- Air pollution and school activities - Washington State Department of Health
- Smoke from wildfires FAQ - Washington State Department of Health
- Know the symptoms - Washington State Department of Health