AIR QUALITY PREPAREDNESS
Air quality impacts our health. Find out what your city's current air quality index level is by visiting the EPA-sponsored AirNow.gov website. Air quality is affected by ground level ozone and particulate matter.
Ground Level Ozone (O3) is a product of volatile organic compounds
(VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight and heat.
Industrial and motor vehicle emissions, Motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline
vapors and chemical solvents are the main sources of VOCs and NOx
responsible for the harmful buildup of ground-level ozone. Even at low
concentrations, ozone can trigger a variety of health issues, such as lung
inflammation and irritation, asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing and
increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses.
Particulate Matter (PM) also known as airborne particles, include smoke,
dust, dirt and soot. Some particles are directly emitted into the air by
vehicles, construction sites, factories/power plants, wood burning and
more. Other particles are formed in the air when gases from burning
fuels interact with water vapor and sunlight. This pollution can cause
decreased lung function, asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, coughing,
painful breathing, and even cardiac problems and heart attacks. These
airborne particles can also lead to serious environmental issues such as
nutrient depletion in soils and acidification of waterways.
UNDERSTAND THE AIR QUALITY INDEX
This index runs from 0 to 500. The higher the number, the worse the air quality.
PREPARE FOR POOR AIR QUALITY
Stay indoors if possible, especially if you are a senior, child, or have a respiratory condition such as COPD or asthma, or a heart condition.
Run an air purifier inside your home to clean the air.
Run your air conditioning (if during the warm season) and close the fresh air intake to limit outdoor air particles from entering your home.
If you must go outside, wear a N95 respirator mask and limit your time outdoors.
If you suffer from respiratory health issues, ensure you have enough medication (such as your inhaler, nebulizer, etc).
Do not burn leaves, debris or any other items during an air quality alert.
Stay informed of local weather conditions. Follow your local National Weather Service office and/or your local TV station meteorologists.