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Veld fires ruin air quality

Veld fires are devastating in nearly every sense of the word. Residents from Somerset West in Cape Town can truly vouch for this, as they are still battling ongoing and fast spreading veld fires that broke out yesterday morning (January 3, 2017) and were raging out of control by the evening, fanned by strong winds.

Areas in Somerset West were evacuated on Tuesday evening after the fires damaged several homes in the area. Helicopters and fixed-wing planes were back on the scene in the early morning hours this morning, while firefighters were on duty overnight to douse the flames on the upper slopes of the mountain in Somerset West.

News24 quoted City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Lane on Tuesday evening that helicopters had to be withdrawn due to the high winds and turbulence near the mountains.  

By this morning the whole of the Cape Peninsula was covered by a blanket of thick smoke.

Fires can have a strong impact on local and regional air quality and overall population health. Widespread smoke pollution from forest fires can be a significant problem across long distances. Since veld fires spread quickly and can last weeks, air contamination from smoke is a real environmental concern. This contamination can often affect communities far from the fire. As the wind spreads the flames, so too does it disseminate the harmful smoke long distances.

How Fires Ruin Air Quality

Ben Vaughn writes on Environment.co.za that veld fires adversely affect air quality due to the large concentrations of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and other harmful chemicals present in the smoke. Since veld and forest fires consume a lot of trees and brush in a short amount of time, the air quickly becomes clogged and saturated with smoke and debris. This effect on air quality, of course, has a strong impact on humans and other animals, as well as the overall environment.

From living in proximity to a fire and having your home or life threatened to respiratory problems associated with the smoke emitted from fires, forest fires seriously compromise people’s overall wellbeing. Airborne matter from forest fires can be particularly harmful since it contains very fine particulate matter and high concentrations of chemicals that can cause respiratory problems and even lead to the development of cancers over time.

What can you do?

Taking simple precautions like wearing a special mask filter if you are in close proximity to a forest fire and adjusting ventilation in homes and vehicles appropriately to limit breathing large concentrations of particulates is a good idea. Disposable masks and ventilators alike can both be very effective ways to keep debris from entering the lungs.  Of course once a fire breaks out, there is not a lot that can be done to clear the air in the short term; it takes a long time for the air to completely clear.

Get an Air Purifier!

Even if you seal yourself up in your home, tiny microscopic particles carried by the wind can seep into your house. An air purifier will capture the small particles that cause big respiratory problems.

If you own an air purifier and intend to use it to help your home recover from the onslaught of smoke and ash, you will first want to determine the state of the filters.

If necessary, you can move your air purifier from room to room during the day, but you should certainly try to eliminate the airborne smoke particulate in the bedrooms as soon as possible. Leave the air purifier off while you do a thorough cleaning - vacuuming, wiping all surfaces and windows clean of the fine smoke and ash dust - then turn the air purifier on high and let it remove what has been stirred up from the cleaning. Unfortunately, depending on what the wind carries in and how much rain you get, you may find it necessary to clean daily for a while.

If you have never owned an air purifier and are considering one to help your home recover, keep in mind that air purifier brands and models differ dramatically. So it’s best to check with a specialist which air purifier would best suit your application.

Air Purifiers

Benefits Of Interactive Whiteboard

When the first whiteboards were introduced in the early 60s they were a real hit. It was excellent to use a surface that allowed nonpermanent markings for business presentations or for educational purposes. The advance in technology had impact on many products including whiteboards. Modern whiteboards are no longer simple piece of glassy material where people use a marker to write down their thoughts. They are now connected to computers or mobile devices and that’s why they are known as interactive whiteboards. Just like their older versions, interactive whiteboards are becoming a real hit in classrooms and offices and there is more than one good reason for that. The following is a shortlist of few of the most important benefits of using interactive whiteboards.

  1. They make your business meetings more productive

The times when one person has written their opinions, thoughts and plans on the whiteboard while the rest of the participants were waiting are now gone. Participants can now be equally involved in the meetings thanks to the interactive whiteboards. They can share, access, edit and save files and present them on the whiteboard. For example, the presenter can send the presentation to the mobile devices of the people present on the meeting with only one click. The person that is responsible for the presentation can easily alter information received from the audience. Participants can also answer question or add suggestion right away. In other words, these meetings are interactive, more engaging and as a final result they are more productive.

  1. They keep the data

As previously mentioned, interactive whiteboards use data from a certain computer or mobile device. In addition, all the things that are altered or received from the participants are directly saved on the computer. This means that once the meeting or presentation is finished everyone can analyze and reuse the data. This is especially useful in cases of brainstorming sessions. Traditional whiteboards and the data placed on them are lost once the whiteboard is cleaned.

  1. They allow presentation of different media

There are few different media types that can be presented on an interactive whiteboard which means that the presenter can present their work in a better way. They can use unlimited amount of complex graphics and images. This is surely a great way to keep the audience interested and leave better impressions.

  1. They encourage the use of modern technology

No matter if we are talking about students or employees, there are persons who are still not familiar with the latest technologies. By promoting interactive whiteboards we are actually encouraging these individuals to find out more about the latest technologies and to use it. Once again, the final result is increased productivity.

  1. They support creativity

Since all the participants are allowed to join the presentation at any time, most of them will be encouraged by their colleagues’ participation and they will use their creativity to come up with new ideas and suggestions.

Remember that these are only some of the benefits of using interactive whiteboards. 

The importance of paper shredders

Identity theft is now a costing the South African economy R1 billion every year, with this figure increasing each year. One of the most important safeguards an individual or business owner can get against identity theft is a top of the range paper shredder. It is not enough to just tear up important bills and throw them in the trash anymore, as there are many people who make a living going through bins to find bank account numbers, credit cards numbers and other vital personal important.   

The only sure way to protect yourself from a criminal stealing your information and ruining your credit rating is to purchase a high quality paper shredder, that has the ability to keep all of your personal data private. The cost of a paper shredder is very low when compared to the feeling of security knowing that all your information is safe and secure.

Paper shredders are an extremely simple and quick way to destroy sensitive information, with it only taking a few minutes to shred dozens of highly sensitive documents. Business owners will be able to safety dispose of client information that may be commercially sensitive and if it was released could cause damage to your reputation.

Individuals will also see great benefits from buying a quality shredder, as they can shred a range of household bills, from electricity to credit cards bills. There is no better way to ensure that your financial details are protected than a top paper shredder.

It can cost a very large amount of both time and money to get your identity back after it has been stolen, with the experience being very stressful for anybody. It can even take a long time for a victim of identify theft to know they have been targeted. An investment in a shredder will be very worthwhile to those who want to defend themselves against thefts and criminals.

Which Shredder to Buy in South Africa?

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