What You Should Know About Smoke Safety



What's in smoke? From wildfires to wood stoves, understanding smoke sources is the first step to being #SmokeReady. Smoke contains a mixture of harmful substances like particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. These pollutants can have negative impacts on our health and the environment. As we gear up for wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest, let's prepare ourselves by understanding the dangers of smoke and the sources that contribute to it. Stay informed, stay safe.

With wildfires, it's crucial to know where to get reliable information about smoke conditions. Use resources like the Air Quality Index (AQI), our CTCLUSI Alert Hub App, Oregon DEQ’s App or website: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality , Lane Regional Air Protection Agency’s website: AQI Forecast | Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (lrapa.org), and EPA’s AirNow App or website: Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov) to stay updated. Remember, being #SmokeReady means being informed.

Smoke from wildfires and other sources can have serious health impacts, particularly on children, elders, and people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions. Breathing wildfire smoke can worsen many health problems and cause minor to serious symptoms like headaches, stinging eyes, coughing, trouble breathing, asthma attacks and chest pain. Smoke is unhealthy for everyone, but there are some people especially sensitive to health effects from smoke and should take extra steps to protect themselves. 

Improving your indoor air quality can significantly reduce your exposure to smoke during wildfires or other smoke events. Simple actions like changing your filters regularly, using hepa portable air cleaners or DIY box fan filters, and limiting indoor activities that produce smoke (like burning candles) can make a big difference during smoke events. Let's all take action to breathe cleaner air and be #SmokeReady.

Every action we take to prevent wildfires helps to reduce smoke exposure. This includes careful handling of fire, like extinguishing campfires thoroughly and not dragging chains while driving. Prevent wildfires, reduce smoke exposure. Stay #SmokeReady.

What You Should Know About COVID-19 Safety

Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

During a Pandemic

Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection

  • Americans can continue to use and drink tap water as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please be sure to follow public health guidance as the situation develops.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Associated Content

 Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board 

Washing your hands seems so simple, but it's one of the best methods for prevention.
1. Wet your hands w/clean water and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands and rub them together like you’re cleaning freshly picked huckleberries. Be sure to scrub the back of your hands between your finger and your fingernails.
3. Scrub for 20 seconds or more. It helps if you sing your fave Tribal song.
4. Rinse off soap and give a good shake then dry with a clean towel.

What You Should Know About Earthquake Safety

Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks deep underneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes can happen without warning and can result in injuries and damage to property and roads. Earthquakes can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. While they can happen anywhere, areas at higher risk for earthquakes include California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Mississippi Valley.

If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away.

  • If you are in a car, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.
  • If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.
  • Do not get in a doorway.
  • Do not run outside.

Stay Safe During an Earthquake: Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Drop: Wherever you are, drop down on to your hands and knees. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.

Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.

Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

Prepare Before an Earthquake

The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens.

  • Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
  • Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, televisions and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
  • Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
  • Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
  • Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
  • Consider making improvements to your building to fix structural issues that could cause your building to collapse during an earthquake.

Stay Safe After an Earthquake

If an earthquake has just happened, there can be serious hazards such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines.

  • Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake.
  • Check yourself to see if you are hurt and help others if you have training. Learn how to be the help until help arrives.
  • If you are in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building. Do not enter damaged buildings.
  • If you are trapped, protect your mouth, nose and eyes from dust. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall or use a whistle instead of shouting to help rescuers locate you.
  • If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground immediately after the shaking stops.
  • Text messages may be more reliable than phone calls.
  • Once you are safe, listen to local news reports for emergency information and instructions via battery-operated radio, TV, social media or from cell phone text alerts.
  • Be careful during post-disaster cleanup of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during cleanup.
  • Register on the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website so people will know you are okay.

Associated Content

What You Should Know about Wildfire Safety

  • Know what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
  • Learn your evacuation routes and plan to evacuate if advised by local authorities.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Check your insurance policies to ensure you have enough coverage.
  • Create a communications plan with your family.
  • Listen to local officials.

Plan Ahead

Alerts & Warnings

  • Sign up to receive text or e-mail alerts about emergencies like wildfire from your local Office of Emergency Management.
  • Timely information on wildfires can save your life & property. Learn about alerts & warnings: https://www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system 
  • National Weather Service issues a Fire Weather Watch when potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours. 
  • National Weather Service issues a Fire Weather/Red Flag Warning when wildfire conditions occur or are expected to occur within 24 hours 

Protect Your Property

  • Prepare for a wildfire by maintaining your lawn and removing combustible debris from around your home
  • Protect yourself & your property! National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says to create 3 zones of defensible space: http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/The-ember-threat-and-the-home-ignition-zone  
  • Use fire-resistant materials for construction, renovation, & landscaping to protect your property from a wildfire
  • Wildfire Safety Tip: Don’t use anything (i.e. lawnmowers) that may create sparks outside on dry, windy days 
  • Clear area near your home of leaves, dead vegetation & other combustible debris to reduce sources of fuel 
  • Protect Your Property: Create three zones of defensible space around your home or business.  Defensible space should be up to 200 feet from a structure.  


  • Evacuation Tip: Roll up car windows & close air vents b/c smoke from a fire can irritate your eyes & respiratory system
  • Adults and children with conditions such as asthma might need to evacuate long before the fire reaches your community as smoke can extend far beyond the boundaries of a wildfire.
  • Remember the Five Ps of Evacuation: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items. Learn more here: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/98111
  • Be prepared to evacuate if a wildfire occurs by knowing your family’s evacuation plan.  Tip: Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot.
  • Late decisions to evacuate can lead to wildfire fatalities. Pack emergency supplies so you’re ready to GO! https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/ready_emergency-supply-kit-checklist.pdf 
  • Know and practice your evacuation plan before a wildfire.
  • When an evacuation notice is issued for a wildfire, take prompt action to maximize survival chances 


  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, do an Internet search with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.” 
  • Your family may not be together when a wildfire occurs. Make plans today for how to stay in touch https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/94715 
  • Set up group text lists so you can communicate with several people at the same time during emergencies. 
  • Make & share your family’s wildfire emergency plan! Tips: www.ready.gov/wildfires 
  • Talk to your neighbors about Wildfire Safety. Plan how the neighborhood could work together before and after a wildfire. 
  • Talk with your kids about making an emergency plan: https://www.ready.gov/kids/know-the-facts/wildfires 
  • Cellular networks may be congested after a wildfire, but text messages may get through. Teach loved ones how to TEXT 
  • Plan Today: Use these 3 easy steps to make your family communications plan  https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/94715 

After a Wildfire

  • If your home was damaged by a #wildfire, don’t re-enter until it is inspected by qualified professionals. Learn more wildfire safety tips at www.ready.gov/wildfires 
  • If you evacuated the area due to a #wildfire, wait for public officials to say it’s safe before returning.
  • After a wildfire, the ground may contain heat pockets from burning roots that can injure you or spark another fire.


What you should know about Extreme Heat Safety

  • Know what to do before, during, and after extreme heat.
  • Create a communications plan with your family before extreme heat hits.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Listen to local and Tribal officials.

Heat Safety & Risk

  • Follow @NWS for heat advisories & excessive heat warnings so you can #BeatTheHeat this summer
  • Do you know the difference between a Heat Outlook, Watch, & Warning? Learn them today: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat
  • Stay safe from the heat by drinking a lot of water, staying indoors, & calling 911 if you see someone suffering from a heat emergency: www.ready.gov/heat #BeatTheHeat
  • When a child's temp reaches 107 degrees-they die. Call 911 & act fast if you see a child in danger. #HeatStrokeKills
  • Heat Wave: Prolonged period of excessive heat, often with excessive humidity: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat #BeatTheHeat
  • Listen to local weather forecasts to prepare for extreme heat #BeatTheHeat
  • Extreme heat makes the body work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Know the facts & prepare: www.ready.gov/heat #HeatSafety
  • Each year approximately 175 Americans die from extreme heat. Get the 411 on #HeatSafety www.ready.gov/heat
  • Did you know that urban residences are at greater risk of the effects of prolonged #heat than rural and suburban residences? www.ready.gov/heat #HeatSafety

Stay Indoors

  • Roughly 40% of unwanted heat buildup in our homes is through windows. Use awnings or curtains to keep the heat out! #BeatTheHeat
  • #BeatTheHeat by staying indoors and in the shade. More tips for the entire family on www.ready.gov/kids/know-the-facts/extreme-heat #BeatTheHeat this summer!
  • Tip: Check the weather stripping on doors and windows to keep the cool air in. #BeatTheHeat
  • Extreme heat can often lead to #blackouts.  Don't be in the dark, learn how to prepare at: www.ready.gov/power-outage #HeatSafety
  • Fans alone aren’t enough in high heat + high humidity. Get inside in A/C or go to a public place like the library, museum, or shopping mall to #BeatTheHeat
  • During extreme heat, stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. www.ready.gov/heat #BeatTheHeat
  • Enter your zip code at www.211.org to find cooling-off centers near you! #SummerSafety #BeatTheHeat
  • Contact your local Office of Emergency Management to find a cooling-off center near you. #BeatTheHeat

Reduce Heat Impact

  • In extreme heat, dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. #BeatTheHeat
  • Check on your pets frequently to ensure they are safe during extreme heat. #BeatTheHeat
  • Keep strenuous activity to a minimum during the hottest parts of the day (11am-2pm) and use a buddy system! #SummerSafety
  • #BeatTheHeat tip: Check on seniors, people who are ill or may need extra help frequently.
  • Make sure you drink LOTS of water to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration, heat stroke & more. #SummerSafety
  • During extreme heat drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty. #HeatSafety
  • Got heat cramps? Rest in a cool place & drink a beverage containing electrolytes and sodium, like a sports drink. #BeatTheHeat
  • Recognize when someone is suffering from dehydration or heat stroke & act quickly! Learn the signs: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html #SummerSafety
  • Here’s a sizzling summer tip - Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies! #SummerSafety
  • Have you ever experienced the "urban heat island effect?" Learn more about #HeatSafety and how to prepare at www.ready.gov/heat
  • Video: #HeatSafety information and tips in American Sign Language https://youtu.be/0DZFOJowvb8
  • #BeatTheHeat by making water your beverage of choice during extreme heat over soda to prevent dehydration.
  • During extreme heat, check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. #SummerSafety
  • High heat and humidity cause the body to work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Stay indoors with air conditioning. More tips at www.ready.gov/heat #HeatSafety
  • Too hot to play outside?  www.ready.gov/kids offers plenty of games and activities that will help children learn and prepare for emergencies as they play! #SummerSafety
  • Don’t forget about your pets. Share these tips from the Humane Society to keep pets safe in the heat: http://bit.ly/1RRltIL #BeatTheHeat

Car Safety

What You Should Know About Thunderstorms & Lightning Safety

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay


Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms. Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:

  • Include powerful winds over 50 MPH;

  • Create hail; and

  • Cause flash flooding.


  • When thunder roars, go indoors!

  • Move from outdoors into a building or car.

  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings.

  • Unplug appliances.

  • Do not use landline phones.


Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.

  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

  • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.

  • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.

  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive DURING

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.


  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
  • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.

Associated Content

What you should know about Pet Preparedness Safety

Image by Matan Ray Vizel from Pixabay

  • Include your pets in your emergency plans
  • Build a separate emergency kit for your pets
  • Make sure and keep digital records and/or pictures to identify your pet after a disaster in case you become separated
  • Create a list of places that accept pets if an emergency happens


Emergency Kit

  • Take time to refresh your pets emergency kit-check water, food, & make sure their favorite toy is included to reduce stress www.ready.gov/pets
  • Pets need an emergency supply kit too. View what items should go in it: www.ready.gov/pets #PetPreparedness
  • A pet supply kit should contain the basics for survival like pet food and water. #PetPreparedness
  • Put a favorite toy, treats or bedding in your pet’s emergency kit to help reduce their stress. #PetPreparedness
  • Add extra pet food & water to your grocery list to update your pet's emergency kit. #PetPreparedness
  • Food, water, collar, veterinary records are some items for your pet’s emergency kit. More at: www.ready.gov/animals #PetPreparedness
  • Take care of farm friends in an emergency.  Pack emergency items for them too, including vehicles and trailers. #PetPreparedness
  • Keep your pets' vet’s name and vaccination records handy in case of emergency. #PetPreparedness
  • Don't forget a pooper scooper, cat litter, or plastic bags in your pets' emergency kit! #PetPreparedness


  • Practice evacuating in the car with your animals, so they’re more comfortable if you need to evacuate in an emergency. #PetPreparedness
  • If officials tell you to evacuate before a storm, don't leave pets behind! https://www.ready.gov/animals #PetPreparedness
  • Get your pet familiar with their carrier before #severewx hits in case you need to evacuate with them quickly. #PetPreparedness
  • Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be lost or injured--always take them with you if evacuate. #PetPreparedness
  • If you evacuate your home take your pets & their supplies with you. www.ready.gov/pets  #PetPreparedness


  • Make a list & check it twice. List the address & number of all the places you can take your pet in an emergency. #PetPreparedness
  • Find out in advance where you can take your pets when an emergency happens in your community https://www.gopetfriendly.com/ #PetPreparedness
  • Identify pet shelters now before the next emergency: https://www.ready.gov/animals #PetPreparedness
  • Pets displaced by a disaster are frequently kept in shelters or held by local orgs. Find a contact ahead of time. #PetPreparedness


  • Keep that cute selfie of you & your pet in your emergency kit to prove ownership. #PetPreparedness
  • Does your pet have ID? Put your name and contact information on your pet’s ID tag in case you’re separated in an emergency. #PetPreparedness
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a current photo of your pet in case you get separated during a disaster. #PetPreparedness
  • Tip: Include the number of an out of town relative on your pet’s ID tag. #PetPreparedness
  • Think about “microchipping” your pet. These permanent implants help locate your pet following a disaster. #PetPreparedness
  • Tip: Keep your pets’ microchip registration info current so you can be contacted if your pet gets lost in a disaster. #PetPreparedness
  • After a disaster, don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Landmarks may have been changed & your pet could become disoriented. #PetPreparedness


Keeping Animals Safe When It’s Hot

  • Never leave pets in the car! Temperatures rise quickly even with the windows down and can be deadly for your pet. #HeatSafety
  • #BeatTheHeat indoors, check on neighbors & always call 911 if you see a pet or child in a hot car.
  • Be sure your pets have access to plenty of water, especially when it’s hot. #PetPreparedness #HeatSafety #BeattheHeat
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of shady places to go when outdoors. #PetPreparedness #HeatSafety #BeattheHeat
  • CAUTION:  Test sidewalks with your hand. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s probably too hot for your pet. #PetPreparedness #HeatSafety
  • Avoid exercising with your pet outside on extremely hot days #PetPreparedness #HeatSafety

Keeping Animals Safe When It’s Cold

  • When you're cold your pets are cold. Bring pets inside during cold weather! #WinterSafety
  • Always bring your pets inside when it’s freezing outside. #WinterSafety
  • When the temperature drop, remember to bring your pets inside. If you see animals outside call your local humane society or 311 if available.
  • Don't forget to wipe your dog’s paws! Ice-melting chemicals can make your pet sick. #PetPreparedness
  • Your pet may think antifreeze is sweet, but it’s not a dessert! Keep your pet safe this winter: http://bit.ly/1vKcaws #PetPreparedness
  • Bring your furry friends inside when temperatures take a dip! #PetPreparedness
  • #ColdWeather Tip: Bring your furry friends inside. Move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water. #PetPreparedness
  • Make sure pets are inside & out of the #snow. If you see pets wandering outside call your local animal control agency. #PetPreparedness