Event to offer solutions for living with smoke from wildfires

Islanders will learn about the actions they can take to protect their bodies and homes.

Robert Litman of the Breathable Body said the wildfire smoke that hung over the island last year made him concerned — and that he was not alone.

“I noticed there is a very high fear level [from the smoke] — ‘What do I do, where do I go, how do I take care of myself?’”

He will host an event next week with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) to help islanders learn about the actions they can take to protect their bodies and homes, as well as be prepared for similar conditions this season.

Chief Charlie Krimmert of VIFR will also report on current forest fire trends and discuss how to mitigate the potential risk for fires in and around the home.

Litman, who has lived on Vashon for six years and works with private clients, said he will teach those in attendance about air quality, offering education about air pollution outside and inside the home and how to monitor both. He said he will also discuss the value of using the body’s respiratory system correctly, from breathing through the nose at even intervals to the benefits of nasal washes. He will also provide an overview of the best exercises to calm breathing in the case of anxiety or an asthma attack.

In addition, Litman will bring research on what he found to be the most effective masks and air purifiers available on the market. He emphasized that prolonged exposure to smoky air — depriving the body of oxygen — has the potential to overwork and damage the heart.

“It’s important to understand the science of breathing, so people are motivated to actually take care of their breathing,” he said. “Breathing is dependent upon a lack of tension. Less stress means healthy breathing.”

Krimmert said the threats posed by wildfires are on his mind as well, as they continue to burn farther and farther west, more so than they have in the past. The new trend warrants taking precautions, he said, many of which are simple — it’s all about knowing what to look out for.

“For example, if your gutters are full of debris and a spark lands in them, you’ve set the match against the house, so to speak,” he said.

He added that he recommends that anyone in the community with concerns about their own health or property should attend.

“We’re just trying to encourage the island to be very cognizant of summer fire hazards,” he said.

The talk will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at the Methodist church.

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