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2016 Air Quality Awareness Week


May 1, 2017

Today the focus is on wildfires and smoke. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5), also known as fine particle pollution, is the main pollutant of concern in smoke. Smoke can travel long distances, affecting areas far away from the fire.

PM2.5 Causes

• Premature death

• Cardiovascular effects, including heart attacks and stroke

• Respiratory effects, including asthma attacks and acute bronchitis
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children are most at risk; pregnant women, newborns and people with obesity or diabetes also may be more susceptible.

When there’s smoke in the air, take steps to protect yourself and your family

• Know your air quality. Smoke levels can change throughout the day, so be active outdoors when air quality is better. Check your air quality agency’s website or airnow.gov for current air quality conditions and forecasts.

• Stay inside with the doors and windows closed when advised to do so. Run your air conditioner in recirculate mode.

• Have enough food and medication on hand to last several days to minimize going out for supplies. If you must go out, avoid the smokiest times of day.

To learn more about protecting your health during fires, see How Smoke from Fires Can Affect your Health

Did you know?

Weather satellites, and the people who analyze the data, work around the clock to protect you. Learn more about weather satellites and wildfire smoke.

People who manage large fires also develop detailed smoke forecasts to help you be safe. Learn more at: Helping Communities Understand and Respond to Air Quality Impacts.

Find more information about the National Weather Service Tools state and local forecasters use to develop Air Quality Forecasts.

Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge to Protect Public Health New air sensor measurement systems can help protect first responders and communities affected by smoke from wildfires and controlled fires. The Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge will help develop innovative prototypes to use in fire events.

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