NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday warned residents to be aware of smoke that has filled the air due to wildfires across the state. “Amid the current fire-induced challenges, the health and well-being of our residents remain our top priority,” said Heidi Krapfl, deputy director of the DOH Epidemiology and Response Division.
High winds, heat, and extremely dry conditions are contributing to several wildfires and human-caused fires across the state in recent days, the DOH said. To keep residents safe, the DOH released the following tips and guidelines:
Monitor air quality
The DOH encourages people to monitor air quality alerts as issued by AirNow.gov. These nationwide alerts are also shown on weather apps on smartphones, major news websites, and through broadcast media.
Assessing visibility outdoors with your eyes can be helpful to determine if it is safe to be outside. The DOH recommends utilizing the 5-3-1 Method available here and below.
5-3-1 Visibility Method
- If visibility is under five miles, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness and they should reduce outdoor activity.
- If visibility is under three miles, young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should stay indoors.
- If visibility is under one mile, the air quality is unhealthy for everyone, and everyone should stay indoors. Unless an evacuation has been issued, stay inside your home, indoor workplace, or in a safe shelter.
The DOH said people with breathing difficulties or heart disease should take precautions when smoke is present. This includes limiting time outdoors, closing windows, turning off swamp coolers, and using air conditioners on recirculation mode.
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If poor air quality persists, the DOH recommends setting up a clean air room in your home. Anyone with asthma should follow their asthma action plan and have quick-relief medicine on hand. The DOH said individuals with heart disease should be mindful of symptoms such as a fast pulse, shortness of breath, or unusual weakness and call your healthcare provider if you have concerns.