Community Wildfire Smoke Resources
The Puget Sound region continues to experience wildfire smoke events as we experience the impacts of climate change. Although our region needs to take collective action to reduce the number and size of these wildfires, we also need to find ways to protect public health during these emergency events. One way the Agency works to reduce the health impacts associated with wildfire smoke is by distributing filter fan kits in communities that are most impacted by wildfire smoke and poor air quality.
Our air quality scientists have run tests and find filter fan kits to be very effective in cleaning the air in our homes. A kit includes a box fan, two MERV 13 filters, and brackets to secure them together. These kits can be an easy an affordable option for many homes - you can learn how to build a filter fan kit to use in your own home.
Over the last five years the Agency has distributed the kits in communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution. The four communities were identified based on air pollution levels, public health data, and demographics. Currently, these communities are Auburn-Algona-Pacific, Chinatown-International District, Duwamish Valley, and Lakewood. The filter fan program allows the Agency staff to work directly with community, provide a resource, and share educational air quality resources to our community members.
In 2022, we distributed 800 filter fan kits in our communities! This is more than the Agency has ever distributed. We distributed 150-200 kits in each focus community and about 150 kits in other communities that are also highly impacted by poor air quality.
Staff is continually working to improve the filter fan kit program and recognized that the Agency was not effectively reaching some populations that are most impacted by environmental injustices, including our Black and African American communities. The teams intentionally partnered with community-based organizations at events that serve these communities. The Agency distributed kits at 31 events across the region with 54% of the filter fan kits distributed with new community partners. Staff worked closely with fifteen new community organizations or groups along with continued partnership with eight groups.
Agency staff continues to look to evaluate and improve the program every year to reach those that are most impacted so we can all be better prepared for wildfire smoke events. Our staff really enjoy being able to be in community spaces, provide resources, have meaningful conversations, and learn from our community members.
The images below showcase some of the events we participated in through the summer where we distributed filter fan kits.