San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District News Release - August 17, 2020
Gusty winds prompt health caution
Blowing dust poses potential health concern Valley-wide
The potential for blowing dust as a result of gusty winds has prompted local air pollution officials to issue a health cautionary statement effective Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning for San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the Valley portion of Kern County.
A low-pressure system is moving into the region today with strong to gusty winds. The windy conditions will cause localized blowing dust in areas where soils are exceptionally dry and create unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter 10 microns and smaller (PM10). Exposure to particulate pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, trigger asthma attacks and bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections.
Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure. Additionally, older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office in Fresno (559-230-6000), Modesto (209-557-6400) or Bakersfield (661-392-5500).
The Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) is a tool to protect the health of the residents of the San Joaquin Valley. It provides hourly air quality information for your local neighborhood and allows you to take action, when necessary, to avoid poor air quality.
- Pm 2.5 - Official EPA measurement of pollution, PM 2.5 is the particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. Smaller than a human hair and not visible to the eye it can be found in wood smoke.
- Ozone - Official EPA measurement of pollution, ozone is a gas comprised of three oxygen atoms, formed through the interaction between NOx, VOC, and sunlight. Often a result of vehicles and other mobile sources of pollution.
- Contact the Health Services Department for more information on possible school closures:
- (209) 933-7060
DISCLAIMER: If you can smell smoke and see ash, that is an indication that you should be treating air quality conditions as RAAN Level 4 or 5. Limit your exposure.
Be mindful of air quality
At this time of year, when students return to school, increased vehicle traffic contributes to a rise in ground-level ozone. Parents can help protect public health and the health of their children by reducing vehicle emissions through carpooling and turning off their engines during school pick-ups and drop-offs. In addition, Valley residents are urged to reduce vehicle emissions by driving less, driving zero-emission or low-emission vehicles, keeping their vehicles tuned up and avoiding the use of drive-through services.
Valley air quality has shown tremendous improvement over the past several years. The progress can be attributed to a combination of the District’s many control strategies, robust incentive programs, and a commitment by Valley businesses, residents and stakeholders to reduce emissions whenever possible.
“Thanks to the vigilance and cooperation of residents and businesses throughout the Valley, we continue to see improvements in air quality every summer,” said Samir Sheikh, the District’s Air Pollution Control Officer and Executive Director. “We urge the public to be even more mindful of their impact on air quality during this critical Back-to-School window.”
To help ensure continued progress and minimize pollution associated with school site vehicle idling, the District has partnered with hundreds of Valley schools through the Healthy Air Living Schools program, providing signs and other resources that remind parents to “Turn the Key & Be Idle Free” when picking up or dropping off students. Healthy Air Living Schools also includes training for school staff on using the District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN), which displays hourly air quality data and corresponding outdoor activity recommendations to protect student health.
All Valley residents can find current, localized air quality data by visiting myRAAN.com or downloading the free Valley Air District app from the Apple Store or Google Play. These tools allow users to save multiple locations and quickly view the air quality level at their saved locations.
To learn more about the Healthy Air Living Schools program, request a presentation or enrollment into the program, visit www.healthyairliving.com/schools or contact us at email@example.com.
For more information, call a District office in Fresno (559-230-6000), Modesto (209-557-6400) or Bakersfield (661-392-5500).