Thursday, August 27, 2015

Special air quality statement from Environment Canada

Smoky scene west of Pincher Creek
C. Davis photo (150825)
Environment Canada

Issued at 10:45 Thursday August 27, 2015

Air quality is poor over Southern and Central Alberta. Forest fire smoke travelling in from the Northwestern United States is reducing visibilities and creating poor air quality over much of southern Alberta. Individuals living in or travelling in this area are advised to be aware of potential health concerns that can be associated with current air conditions. In the current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.

To reduce exposure to the current air conditions, all individuals can: 
  • reduce presence of smoke in indoor environments
  • close and lock all outside windows and doors, including attached garage doors
  • Turn down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum setting
  • Do not attempt to extinguish pilot light
  • If you have an air-conditioner, keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside
  • Avoid running fans, such as whole-house fans or fresh air ventilation systems, that bring more smoky outdoor air inside
  • Switch all floor registers to closed position
  • Close fire place dampers on wood burning fireplaces
  • Do not use wood burning fireplace, wood stoves or other smoke-producing appliances or features, including candles
  • If you must drive to another location, keep windows and vents closed
  • Run car fans on re-circulate mode to avoid drawing in outdoor air
  • Reduce levels of physical activity, as necessary, to decrease the inhalation of airborne pollutants
  • Do not smoke tobacco - smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you. 

Residents are reminded not to use backyard fire pits or fire boxes in parks when the air quality risk is high or very high, as it is now. Individuals with respiratory conditions (such as copd and asthma), and individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions (such as angina, previous heart attack and congestive heart failure), may notice a worsening of symptoms, due to the current air conditions.  These individuals should monitor for worsening of symptoms and take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians if a worsening of symptoms occurs. Children and elderly are also at higher risk of smoke-related illness. Individuals experiencing symptoms can also call health link at 811 to speak to a registered nurse. Air quality can vary with weather conditions and prevailing winds. 

Because air quality is expected to be variable, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

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