Prepare your business for Oregon wildfire season

Even if you’re not directly in the danger zone, smoke from wildfires can seriously impact your business and employees. Here’s what you need to know.

posted June 07, 2019

Smoke from wildfires can seriously impact your employees and your business.

Wildfires are getting bigger, lasting longer, and happening more often in Oregon and across the western United States. In addition to the immediate harm from the fire itself, hazardous smoke travels well beyond the fire lines, putting people and businesses at risk.

Employees who work outdoors, have respiratory conditions or cardiovascular disease, smoke, or are pregnant have a higher risk of health impacts.

Follow these tips to be better prepared.

Before wildfire season:

  • Include wildfire smoke events in your emergency response and business continuity plans. Find resources to create your plan.
  • Communicate with employees about the potential effects of wildfire smoke and how your business is preparing.
  • Designate essential personnel and duties.
  • Plan for how to get employees to safer locations, or when to release them before situations worsen.
  • Set aside adequate supplies of water, food, and personal protective equipment. Consider providing filtering facepiece respirators, such as N-95 or N-100, for voluntary short-term use. N-95 or N-100 filtering facepieces(Provide Appendix D to 1910.134 before use.)  Do not rely on paper or dust masks.

During a wildfire event:

  • Monitor fire and smoke risk in your area. One resource is DEQ’s Air Quality Index.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Shut down outside air intakes and allow air-condititioned buildings to operate on recirculated air. Change filters on HVAC units. Keep windows and doors closed. Reduce or eliminate other sources of indoor air pollutants, such as smoking or cooking.
  • Relocate or reassign outdoor work activities out of the smoke zone.
  • Cease work when air quality and/or visibility presents health and safety hazards.

Find more tips for preparing your business for wildfire season.


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