Air Quality Warning Re-Issued

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Source: Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District re-issued the Air Quality Warning due to continued smoke and ash impacts from the Alamo and Whittier fires. The Air Quality Warning will remain in effect until conditions improve.

All areas of the county have the potential to be affected by smoke and ash. Be cautious and use common sense to protect your and your family’s health. If you smell smoke or see ash fall, County officials recommend that you take precautions to reduce the harmful health effects associated with smoke exposure. Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children, should limit time spent outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise when high concentrations of smoke and particles are in the air.

If you have symptoms that may be related to smoke exposure, contact your health care provider. Symptoms can include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

Consider purchasing an air-filtering device, which can help remove ash, soot, and dust.
•       Select a device with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
•       Keep the device in one room that could serve as a “clean air room” — the packaging on most devices notes the suitable room size.

If you are particularly sensitive to air pollution, and air quality is poor in your area to the extent that you are unable to keep indoor air clean, consider relocating to an area where the air is cleaner.

During hot weather, use your best judgment when it comes to keeping your home cool when there is smoke in your area. Keep windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot. If you have an air conditioner, run it with the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean. If you have a whole house fan, turn it off unless it is extremely hot. As temperatures cool, you should take the opportunity to air out your home as long as smoke and ash aren’t present.

Even as conditions improve, winds can still stir up ash. Over time, those particles can be broken into smaller particles and blown into the air. Residents are urged to avoid using leaf blowers or doing any activities that will stir ash and particles into the air. Instead, sweep ash gently with a broom, and take cars to a car wash. You should avoid skin contact with ash, and no one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash cleanup.

To check air quality levels throughout the county, visit our www.OurAir.org/todays-air-quality/.

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