What can I do when it’s smoky outside?

Smoke from bushfires or woodsmoke can harm your health by reducing the quality of the air you breathe.

There are some simple steps you can do to reduce how much smoke you breathe, and help you manage your health.

  • Stay indoors with your windows and doors closed and avoid physical activity outdoors.
  • If there is a break in smoky conditions, open the windows and air out your home.
  • If you use an air-conditioner, set it to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’.
  • If a lot of smoke from outside gets in or your home gets too hot, consider visiting a friend’s place, or a nearby library, shopping centre or sports centre if they have air-conditioning or are out of the smoky area.
  • Consider using a portable air cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter, available from home electrical stores. These should be set up in a well-sealed room the right size for the filter.
  • Be informed about using facemasks. Simple paper or cloth face masks do not provide protection from bushfire smoke. Specialised ‘P2’ or ‘N95’ masks, available from most hardware stores, will filter smoke particles but they require an air-tight seal between the mask and your face to be effective. This is difficult to achieve for adults and impossible for children due to their smaller faces.

Need more detailed information? See the fact sheet from the Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health Research.