National Weather Service Issues Air Quality Alert for Western Washington Through this Weekend
OLYMPIA – The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for Western Washington due to wildfire smoke, effective 5 p.m. Friday October 14, to 11 a.m. Monday October 17. Thurston County residents can monitor air quality through the Washington State Department of Ecology website and follow health recommendations for air quality in their area.
Air quality may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include people with health conditions (lung diseases such as COPD or asthma, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, people 18 and younger or older than 65, pregnant people, outdoor workers, people of color, tribal and indigenous people, and people with low income.
If air quality declines, sensitive groups should take steps to reduce exposure. These precautions include limiting time outside, avoiding strenuous outdoor activity, and following tips for cleaner indoor air. Everyone should watch for symptoms as a sign to reduce exposure.
When Air Quality is unhealthy Thurston County residents are advised to follow these safety tips:
- Limit duration and intensity of outside physical activity.
- Stay inside with cleaner indoor air
- Close windows and doors unless it's too hot to maintain safe temperatures.
- Don't add to indoor air pollution, such as cigarette smoking or burning candles.
- Filter indoor air through an HVAC system, HEPA portable air cleaner, or DIY box fan filter.
- Set air conditioning to recirculate.
- If unable to maintain clean air at home, go elsewhere for cleaner air such as a friend's place, public space, or unimpacted area.
- If you must be outside, wear a properly fitted, NIOSH-approved particulate respirator, such as an N95 mask.
- Watch for signs of symptoms: burning eyes, coughing, throat and nose irritation, headaches, fatigue, wheezing and shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and/or chest pain.