WSRMP RISK ALERT- Air Quality
Most of us are experiencing the smoky conditions, poor air quality and ash fallout due to the extreme wildfires in British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains.
WSRMP recommends districts take precautionary measures to ensure the continued safety, health, and well-being of students and staff. Several schools have cancelled outdoor activities, including sports practices, outdoor PE classes and recess due to concerns of potential health reactions students and staff may experience from smoke and air particles. Based upon the air quality in your area, limiting time spent outdoors to minimize exposure is recommended, especially for those that may have health issues that can be exacerbated by poor air quality. Under these smoky conditions, asthma flare-ups tend to occur more frequently as students experience a variety of symptoms including watery red eyes, chest congestion, and frequent, intermittent coughing. Watch for asthmatic symptoms, wheezing/shortness of breath, and chest pains, particularly with younger students. Individuals who are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and auto immune deficiencies are urged to stay inside and limit physical activity. Consult with your school nurse as necessary.
Below are resources to help guide you in monitoring the air quality in your region.
- AirNow allows districts to see the real time level of air quality and whether conditions are potentially hazardous. https://airnow.gov/
- The National Weather Service website provides a heat index based upon temperature and humidity to determine potential hazardous conditions. https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-index
- WA State Department of Health has established recommendations for schools on fine particle air pollution.http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334-332.pdf
Please continue to monitor air quality and heat forecasts for any changes and take proactive measures to protect students and faculty.