Low-income Flathead Valley residents at risk of serious health problems from wildfire smoke may be eligible to receive portable HEPA air cleaners at no cost. The Flathead City-County Health Department has partnered with local nonprofits Climate Smart Glacier Country and the Whitefish Community Foundation, as well as the Flathead Electric Cooperative’s Roundup for Safety program, to provide the HEPA air cleaners.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air filter. Such filters are available for central heating and cooling systems, but for homes without central air, the portable electric appliances offered through the health department program can be plugged into a standard wall outlet.
Low-income individuals with lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease may qualify for a free air cleaner. Senior citizens, expectant mothers and infants also are considered at risk. Those interested in receiving an air cleaner can contact the health department at 406-751-8225.