Shelter from the (pollution) storm

In recent years, the Pacific Northwest of the United States has been wracked by wildfires. Acrid smoke from those fires drifts into populated areas like Seattle. That, in turn, has caused a number of health emergencies. Exacerbated by the fact that 60-70% of residential (and some commercial) buildings don’t have air conditioning, people in the region rely on open windows for cool air. So, smoke blanketing urban areas has impacted health and well-being.

“We really want to make sure people can still utilize our public spaces, especially because so many homes in Seattle don’t have HVAC systems,” said Julia Reed from the Seattle mayor’s office.

How big is this pollution problem?

By June of this year the state of Washington has already faced more than 170 wildfires. And across the US wildfires are on the increase. More than 8.7 million acres of US land burned during 2018 wildfires, an increase from the 3 million acres of 2008.

What’s the solution?

This has caused Seattle to develop an innovative pilot program: Clean-air shelters, where residents and at-risk groups, like the homeless and the elderly, can go during climate crisis conditions for respite.

This pollution has led to outfitting five public buildings with filtration systems, as well as air doors that increase air flow to push bad air away when opened. That way, vulnerable residents will have someplace to go when air quality conditions deteriorate.

According to CityLab, “Officials said they also chose buildings in areas with a concentration of residents who likely can’t afford filtration systems for their own homes. For example, one of the community centers they chose is in the International District, where there are many senior citizens living on fixed incomes.”

Seattle officials warn, however, that the public places won’t be open all night as shelters. So consider the clean-air buildings more of a temporary fix.

What can businesses and residents do?

So how would someone get a permanent fix for a vexing pollution problem? One ideal solution involves outfitting indoor spaces with commercial-grade AeraMax Professional air purifiers. These units have a unique four-stage filtration system that effectively and efficiently removes up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants. Smoke, dust, germs, allergens, bacteria and more, are removed from indoor spaces. Using patented autosensing technology, the air purifiers automatically “read” a room to know when a room’s air needs cleaning. The machines level up to meet demand and level back down when the airborne threat is eliminated. Best yet, the units work to clean a room even when there is no environmental crisis, offering occupants clean, fresh air continually.