Masking During the Wildfire Crisis: Honeywell Shares Helpful Strategies
Properly fitting N95 masks can filter up to 95% of particles in the air, helping protect against some airborne illnesses and the effects of wildfire smoke
August 1, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C., AUG. 1, 2023– Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) released tips today for effective N95 mask usage to help communities stay healthy in the face of current wildfires and upcoming flu season.
“While N95 masks may have risen in popularity amid COVID-19 surges, their protective qualities extend beyond the pandemic in helping shield individuals and communities from airborne pollutants, infectious particles and occupational risks,” said Michael Garceau, President of Honeywell Personal Protective Equipment. “By prioritizing mask quality, fit and proper use, workers and everyday citizens can feel confident in their protection against respiratory hazards.”
Record-breaking temperatures and wildfires have swept through North America this summer, posing significant health risks. Smoke and harmful particles released into the air from wildfires can travel long distances, impacting large numbers of people. Inhaling particle pollution can irritate the respiratory system and cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It can also trigger or exacerbate conditions like asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. Vulnerable populations like children and the elderly are at elevated risk from wildfire smoke.
As summer turns to fall, different airborne risks arise with cold and flu season. During the 2021-2022 season, the CDC estimated that influenza was associated with 9 million illnesses, 4 million medical visits, 10,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. As a trusted leader in personal protective equipment (PPE), Honeywell shares several insights to help individuals use masks effectively and lower their risk of negative effects from respiratory hazards, whether from wildfire smoke or seasonal viruses:
Tip #1: Use a high-quality mask:
N95 masks* are engineered with advanced filtration technology to capture airborne particles, including smoke, certain viruses and other pollutants. N95s are meant to be used once and then discarded. It’s important to note that not all masks labeled as “N95” meet the required standards. When purchasing these masks, it’s essential to buy from reputable sources and look for masks that are certified by regulatory bodies.
Tip #2: Consider your indoor or outdoor environment:
During cold and flu season, indoor settings like hospitals, shelters, nursing homes, schools and daycares often experience higher rates of illness. Wearing a mask may be appropriate to help protect individuals and the larger community in these types of settings. It’s important to wear masks while outdoors as well in communities affected by wildfire smoke to help minimize particle inhalation. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions are particularly susceptible to experiencing more severe symptoms from wildfire smoke.
Tip #3: Ensure the mask fits properly:
When properly fitted, N95 masks have can filter up to 95% of many types of particles in the air. The form-fitting design of an N95 mask allows the air you breathe to be filtered through. Test the seal of your mask by covering the mask with your hands and inhaling to check for any air leakage. Regularly inspect your mask for any signs of damage.
“We recognize the significant role high-quality N95 masks and other PPE can play in contributing to healthier living and working environments for all. We are proud to do our part in helping keep communities safe,” said George Koutsaftes, President and CEO of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions.
Honeywell offers a wide range of N95 masks for everyday use or for worker use in industrial environments, construction sites or healthcare facilities. Our comprehensive range of safety solutions are designed to provide reliable protection and peace of mind. For more information on Honeywell’s PPE solutions, please visit the company’s website.
About Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions
Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS) provides products, software and connected solutions that improve productivity, workplace safety and asset performance for our customers across the globe. We deliver on this promise through industry-leading mobile devices, software, cloud technology and automation solutions, a broad range of personal protective equipment and gas detection technology, and custom-engineered sensors, switches and controls. For more information, please visit: sps.honeywell.com.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.
*Honeywell N95 masks are tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to ensure they filter at least 95% of airborne particles when used and worn properly. Honeywell N95 masks are not guaranteed to prevent or reduce virus transmission, including but not limited to COVID-19. Honeywell N95 masks do not destroy any microorganisms, viruses, bacteria, or germs.