COVID-19 Issues for Cleaner Air Shelters and Cleaner Air Areas to Defend the Public from Wildfire Smoke

This doc supplies interim steerage to scale back the danger of introducing and transmitting SARS-CoV-2 (the virus liable for inflicting COVID-19) in cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas. Cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas are public areas the place individuals can search reduction from wildfire smoke. This interim steerage is meant to be used by federal, state, native, and tribal jurisdictions in the USA. It needs to be used along side current cleaner air shelter info, procedures, steerage, and assets.


Wildfire smoke is a public well being concern in the USA. Publicity to wildfire smoke can result in eye and respiratory tract irritation, exacerbations of current respiratory and cardiovascular circumstances, and untimely demise.

Cleaner air shelters are utilized by many communities to supply areas the place individuals can shelter in a single day or for prolonged durations of time. College gymnasiums, buildings at public fairgrounds, and civic auditoriums are examples of areas used as cleaner air shelters throughout wildfires. Cleaner air areas are utilized by many communities to supply non permanent reduction from wildfire smoke; they’re usually utilized by people who can’t create areas with adequately clear air of their houses. Examples of cleaner air areas embrace libraries, museums, buying malls, senior facilities, and different indoor areas with efficient particle filtration and air-con.

The usage of cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas may end up in congregating of teams of individuals, together with older adults and people with coronary heart or lung circumstances. Congregation of individuals in cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas can doubtlessly present a route for the transmission of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, amongst people utilizing the amenities, employees, and volunteers.

Preparedness Actions and Potential Intervention Methods

Screening and Different Websites for Symptomatic and Asymptomatic People

If assets can be found, take into account implementing verbal screening or temperature checks upon arrival at cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas and repeatedly thereafter. If doable, present separate areas for these exhibiting signs of COVID-19 (i.e., cough, fever, shortness of breath). Separate areas might embrace separate rooms inside cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas or separate areas that can be utilized to accommodate people with signs of COVID-19. Most individuals with COVID-19 infections will doubtless have delicate signs, or no signs, and never require hospital care. Be ready to contact emergency officers (name 911) within the case of extreme sickness requiring medical help.

Bodily Distancing

Preserve social (bodily) distancing inside cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas. Areas needs to be organized in order that there might be at the least six ft between people, no matter whether or not they present signs of COVID-19. Take into account separation of furnishings and creating partitioned areas for particular person household items (households who stay collectively don’t want to take care of bodily distancing in a cleaner air shelter or cleaner air area). Ground markings, corresponding to with tape, can be utilized to mark distances between partitioned areas. Smaller amenities can restrict the variety of people utilizing the cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas, in accordance with state and native tips that restrict the dimensions of gatherings. This might decrease capability, so take into account organising a bigger variety of smaller cleaner air shelters or cleaner air areas. Communities would possibly take into account partnering with closed companies, corresponding to film theaters, which may function various cleaner air areas.

Preparation of Cleaner Air Shelters and Cleaner Air Areas

Cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas needs to be ready utilizing current details about the identification and preparation of areas to guard the general public from wildfire smoke. Minimal necessities for air-con and air filtration are described in Appendix B of Wildfire Smoke: A Information for Public Well being Officerspdf icon. At minimal, amenities ought to have central air-con with filtration that’s medium or excessive effectivity, particularly on the recent (out of doors) air consumption. Services ought to proceed to supply air filtration that’s sufficient for the anticipated variety of occupants within the area. Moveable air cleaners can be utilized in areas that may obtain a smoke clear air supply fee (CADR) of at the least 2/three of the room quantity. Air filtration shouldn’t be relied on for controlling the unfold of COVID-19; air filtration tips are primarily for decreasing indoor concentrations of wildfire smoke.

If separate areas in the identical constructing are wanted to separate people with and with out COVID-19 signs, it is very important be certain that air doesn’t stream from the area sheltering people with COVID-19 to the area sheltering others. To take action, it might be essential to work with a professional heating, air flow, and air-con (HVAC) skilled.


Comply with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) cleansing and disinfection tips for group amenities, and details about cleansing and disinfecting buildings and amenities if somebody is sick. Even people with no signs can transmit SARS-CoV-2 and the virus can survive for a number of days on laborious (non-porous) surfaces. Due to this fact, it is very important proceed routine cleansing and disinfection at the least daily with a concentrate on excessive contact surfaces, together with these in widespread areas and loos, utilizing an EPA-registered disinfectant on Listing Nexterior icon or a correctly diluted bleach answer.


Improve onsite communication about COVID-19. Use well being messages and supplies developed by credible public well being sources, corresponding to your state and native public well being departments and CDC. Learn extra about on a regular basis preventive actions. Share or publish COVID-19 posters and truth sheets to maintain individuals knowledgeable about public well being suggestions to forestall illness unfold. Messaging might embrace:

  • Posting indicators at entrances and in strategic locations offering instruction on:
  • Offering academic supplies about COVID-19 for non-English audio system, as wanted
  • Encouraging unwell employees and volunteers to remain residence (or to go residence in the event that they develop signs whereas on the facility) to forestall transmitting the an infection to others

Determine and tackle potential language, cultural, and incapacity obstacles related to speaking COVID-19 info to employees, volunteers, and people utilizing the cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas. Be taught extra about reaching individuals of various languages and cultures.

Prevention Provides

If obtainable, present COVID-19 prevention provides onsite at cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas. Have provides, corresponding to cleaning soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers that comprise at the least 60% alcohol, tissues, and trash baskets available. Workers, volunteers, and people utilizing the cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas ought to put on a material face masking, or if provides can be found, be given a clear disposable facemaskpdf icon, even when they aren’t exhibiting any signs. Fabric face coverings shouldn’t be positioned on younger kids beneath 2 years of age, anybody who has hassle respiration, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or in any other case unable to take away the masks with out help. Place posters that encourage handwashing on the entrance to the power, at sinks in restrooms, and in different areas the place they’re more likely to be seen. If water bottles are distributed, be certain that bottles or glasses will not be shared.

Utility Help

Take into account implementing or increasing applications that present utility help, such because the low-income residence vitality help program (LIHEAP) or related strategies that present monetary help for residence air conditioner use. A brief ban on utility shut offs throughout wildfires would permit individuals to proceed utilizing residence air-con and transportable air cleaners. This technique might decrease the quantity of people that can’t keep of their houses throughout wildfire smoke occasions and the variety of individuals utilizing cleaner air shelters and cleaner air areas.

Workers and Volunteers

Plan for workers and volunteer absences. Develop versatile attendance and sick-leave insurance policies. Workers and volunteers ought to observe CDC interim steerage to forestall office exposures and keep residence when they’re sick. They might additionally want to remain residence when they’re caring for a sick family member or their kids throughout faculty dismissals. Determine important job features and positions, and plan for various protection by cross-training cleaner air shelter and cleaner air area employees and volunteers.


See for extra details about COVID-19.

For extra info on the well being results of wildfire smoke and decreasing publicity to wildfire smoke, see:

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