Asbestos and Wildfires
Updated: Mar 16
Your risk for exposure to asbestos after a fire is higher if your neighborhood was built before 1980. When materials with asbestos are damaged by fire, they release fibers that become airborne. Ash, soot and smoke containing asbestos can travel miles with the wind and expose a larger areas.
Here are some tips for before and during a wildfire.
Have a N-100 or P-100 disposable respirator mask in your emergency supply kit. Make sure you have a mask for yourself and each member of your family. Use these masks anytime you are near smoke or ash created by the wildfire.
Designate Safe Room
Designate a room that can be closed from outside air, and make sure all doors and windows are firmly shut.
Have a portable air cleaner or air purifier on hand to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
Stay In Safe Room
If you are not ordered to evacuate, stay inside in a safe location where smoke levels are minimal.
Cleaning up after a wildfire.
Wet Down Materials
Wet down any possible asbestos-containing materials before handling them.
Wear your NIOSH-approved N-100 or P-100 mask at all times.
Seal immobile materials with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
Wet wipes and HEPA Filters
Wet wipe or use a vacuum with a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter) on nonmovable objects to keep asbestos from becoming airborne.
Soot and Ash
Clean up soot and ash using a HEPA vacuum.
Double-bag all debris.
Don't Move Damaged Material
Do not move any damaged construction materials (drywall, flooring, insulation) unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Please take a look at The Mesothelioma Center's website at Asbestos.com for more information.