FMH provides clean air respite room for community members to breathe easy due to increase in wildfire smoke

Published: Jul. 9, 2019 at 7:39 PM AKDT
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With the air quality reaching unhealthy and hazardous levels from wildfire smoke, community members are trying to get a breath of clean air.

and on the days where the wind is blowing wildfire smoke into town.

Sarah Martin with the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital says the clean air respite room is there for those who need it.

"The respite room provides filtered air, through the hospital filtration system, and extra HEPA filters that are set up in the room, just to provide some relief for those community individuals that have respiratory issues, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, things like that. It's really difficult for them when the smoke is in the air," said Sarah Martin, Chief Nursing Officer at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

The room is open 24/7 and the community can use it for as long as they want or just a quick break to get their breath back. "It just provides them the ability to feel better even for a short amount of time, allowing your lungs the opportunity to clear any of the particulates that are in there, giving them an opportunity to breathe clean air for a little while, and just to help them stabilize out again," said Martin.

One resident says she is trying to prevent any health issues from flaring up due to the smoke. "Even on a bus in North Pole when the door opened, the smoke was so thick, it caused us to cough, the people in the front, and I've had cardiac problems, and it triggered some warning signs," said Badger Road resident Deborah Sears. "I thought this was a blessing because I'm in a clean room with clean air."

The clean air respite room will be available as long as there is a need, and the winds continue to blow smoke into the borough. It's located at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at 1650 Cowles St., Fairbanks, AK 99701, is in their Chandler Room, open 24/7 to anyone in the public who needs it.

Other areas around town where community members can go to get clean air:

Cold Climate Research Housing Center

Address: 955 Draanjik Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775

Noel Wein Public Library

Address: 1215 Cowles St, Fairbanks, AK 99701

North Pole Branch Library

Address: 656 NPHS Boulevard, North Pole, AK 99705