Health & Education

Elders Activity Center opens because of heat, haze

08.22.2015 Dean Rhodes Health & Wellness, Public Safety

In response to the smoke and heat that is occurring today, the Tribe has opened the Elders Activity Center to all ages. It will be open between 1 and 9 p.m. If smoke continues to create issues, the center will consider extending the hours. There is water, coffee and chili is being prepared by Elder Activity Center staff. Please bring your own snacks. Children must have adult supervision at all times.

If individuals experience severe medical issues, please call 911.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Emergency Management Incident Response Team is monitoring the situation 24 hours per day and is in contact with fire officials, neighboring jurisdictions, public health, DEQ and Oregon Department of Forestry multiple times per day.

Who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke?

People who have heart or lung diseases, like congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema) or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke. In general, people with these conditions are at higher risk of having health problems than people without the conditions.

Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.

Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Children's airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. In addition, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play.

Keep indoor air as clean as possible if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area.

Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air

Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating the area if you are having trouble breathing. Call for further advice if your symptoms worsen.

Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

Many Tribal Elders have NOAA Weather Radios in their emergency preparedness packs that were distributed last year through the emergency management program. These radios should be taken out of the preparedness packs and the weather and smoke advisories listened to throughout the weekend.

Community members should consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from Northwest Weather Service (NWS). You can purchase these at many retail outlets, such as electronics and big box stores, or online. Some NWR receivers are designed to work with external notification devices with visual and vibrating alerts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on NWR receivers, visit htm#programming.

Know your fire definitions

Red Flag Warning: NWS issues a fire weather warning or red flag when fire danger exists and weather patterns that support wildfires are either occurring or expected to occur within 24 hours. Authorities may issue a fire weather watch before a warning, but a warning may also be the initial notification.

Containment: The status of a wildfire suppression action signifying that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread.

Controlled: The completion of control line around a fire, any spot fires therefrom, and any interior islands to be saved; burned out any unburned area adjacent to the fire side of the control lines; and cool down all hot spots that are immediate threats to the control line, until the lines can reasonably be expected to hold under the foreseeable conditions.