Air Quality Advisory: UPDATE

The following is an Alberta Health Services Health Advisory:

June 2, 2011

Air Quality Advisory: UPDATE

FORT McMURRAY – Alberta Health Services has lifted the air quality advisory previously in place for northern Alberta, with the exception of the Wood Buffalo Municipality. Fires burning in the Wood Buffalo region continue to cause poor air conditions in this area, and thus, Alberta Health Services is still advising Wood Buffalo-area residents to take precautions against potential health risks associated with fire smoke air conditions.

Smoke – still present in the Wood Buffalo-area – contains fine particulate matter that can be absorbed deep into an individual’s lungs, where it can cause health problems. Those with chronic respiratory conditions, such as COPD and asthma, or chronic cardiac illness, like congestive heart failure or angina, can be more sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“Wood Buffalo-area residents who have conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or angina should continue to monitor their symptoms and take any preventative measures their physicians have previously recommended,” advises Dr. Sikora, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. “If you experience difficulty breathing or chest discomfort, consult your physician.”

Dr. Sikora also recommends that Wood Buffalo residents suffering from respiratory conditions remain indoors, keep windows closed, and limit strenuous physical activity.

Residents can also contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Air quality monitoring data is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website at: http://www.envinfo.gov.ab.ca/AirQuality/

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquiries, please call:
Mark Evans
AHS Communications
780-538-6181

Health Advisory: Fires continue to cause poor air quality in the Wood Buffalo Area

The following is an Alberta Health Services Health Advisory:

June 2, 2011

Fires continue to cause poor air quality in the Wood Buffalo Area

FORT McMURRAY – Due to air quality deterioration caused by fires burning in northern Alberta, Alberta Health Services is continuing to advise Wood Buffalo area residents to take precautions against potential health risks associated with current air conditions. With the rapidly changing weather patterns, the air quality in a local area can change often daily or hourly.

The fine particulate matter in smoke can be absorbed deep into an individual’s lungs where it can cause health problems. Those with chronic respiratory conditions, such as COPD and asthma, or chronic cardiac illness, like congestive heart failure or angina, can be more sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“People with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or angina should continue to monitor their symptoms and take any preventative measures their physicians have previously recommended,” advises Dr. Sikora, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. “Those individuals who experience difficulty breathing, or chest discomfort, should consult their physicians.”

Dr. Sikora also recommends individuals with respiratory conditions remain indoors, keep their windows closed and limit strenuous physical activity.

Residents can contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

As fires continue to burn within the North zone, it is expected that air quality will be highly variable. This advisory is in effect until further notice.

Information about the air quality in many areas of the North Zone is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website at:

http://www.envinfo.gov.ab.ca/AirQuality/

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquires, please call:
Mark Evans
Communications
780-538-6181

Peace Region Air Quality Update

GRANDE PRAIRIE,AB, MAY 28, 2011: PAZA is currently measuring increased fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentrations across the regional network due to wildfires burning in the central and northeast regions of Alberta.

With the increase in fine particulate matter readings, PAZA is measuring a “very poor” Air Quality Index from 8 am this morning at the Grande Prairie Henry Pirker station. The Beaverlodge station continues to measure a “poor” air quality index at this time.

Alberta Environment summarizes effects associated with AQI index ratings as outlined below.

Please contact Alberta Health Services for further information regarding public health concerns with air quality.

PAZA will continue to monitor air quality throughout the region and provide updates on any changes.

PRESS RELEASE:

PAZA is a multi stakeholder organization that monitors outdoor air quality in the south peace region. PAZA currently operates six continuous monitoring stations and 43 passive monitoring stations located throughout the region.

Contact: Peace Airshed Zone Association (PASZA) Phone: (780) 833-4343

Box 21135 Grande Prairie, AB. T8V 6W7 Phone (780) 833-4343 1-866-764-2681 www.paza.ca


Strategies to Reduce Smoke Exposure from Forest Fires

The following information is courtesy Alberta Health and Wellness:

When forest fire smoke enters a community, it can often cause problems for the people who live there. The biggest health threat comes from small particles in the smoke. These small particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they cause burning eyes, a runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis. For some people, these small particles can aggravate pre-existing heart or lung conditions.

You may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels if:

  • You have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma;
  • You are an older adult, especially if you have heart or lung disease; or
  • You are a child. Children are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory system is still developing; they breathe more air per kilogram of weight than an adult; and are more likely to be active outdoors.

Pets may also be susceptible to smoke. Try to keep them indoors as much as possible, and ensure they have plenty of water. If your pet has trouble breathing, please see your veterinarian.
If smoke becomes a problem in your community, reduce your exposure to smoke through these simple steps:

  • Stay inside as much as possible, with the windows and doors closed. In time periods where the air quality temporarily improves, take the opportunity to ‘air out’ your house by circulating fresh outdoor air.
  • Close fresh air intakes from furnaces, fireplaces or stoves.
  • If you have room air cleaners with HEPA filters, turn them on. While air cleaners can be effective, only those that do not produce ozone should be used.
    Humidifiers may help remove some of the smoke. The humid air may help keep your nose and mouth moist.

Do not use wood stoves, gas stoves or even candles. This can make the indoor air quality worse.

  • Prepare foods which do not require cooking, since cooking (especially frying and broiling) can add to indoor pollutant levels.
  • Don’t smoke tobacco, particularly indoors. Stay away from people who are smoking.
  • When you are in your car or truck, keep the windows closed and put the air system on “recirculate” so you do not bring smoky air inside. When travelling through an area with low or no smoke, switch the circulation system to allow outside air into your vehicle.
  • Most masks are not helpful. The harmful particles are so small they can go right around or through them. Staying indoors with the windows closed remains the best option.
  • Leaving an area of thick smoke may be a good protective measure for members of sensitive groups, but it is often difficult to predict how long the situation will last. Leaving should only be considered if it is safe to travel and if the destination is very likely to have less smoke.

Reduce your activity and monitor your symptoms

  • Avoid strenuous activity or exercising when outside. During exercise, and strenuous activity, you often breathe 10-20 times more than at rest. Stop if it makes you feel tired. When there is a great deal of haze in the air, limit the amount of time your children play outdoors.
    Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. This will keep your nose and mouth moist for easier breathing.
  • If you experience chest tightness, chest pain, shortness of breath or severe fatigue, consult your community health nurse or doctor. You should do this even if you don’t have a previous heart or lung problems. You can also call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465) to speak with a registered nurse. If it is an emergency call 911.

Be aware of your surroundings and instructions from your community

  • If instructed to shelter-in-place, do not leave the facility/home unless advised to. Be alert to Public Service Announcements.
  • If you have neighbors, friends or relatives that live alone, check periodically to make sure they are OK. The elderly and people with heart or lung conditions may get sick from the smoke.
    Remember that outdoor events, such as athletic games or competitions, may be postponed or cancelled if smoke levels become elevated.
  • When doors and windows are kept closed to keep the smoke out, houses may also get very warm. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Turn on the furnace fan or stand alone fans to circulate air.
  • Be aware of “Safe Sanctuaries”. Community centers, shopping malls, movie theatres and similar venues may have better air conditioning and filtration systems. Go to these places only if it is safe to do so.

People with asthmas, heart or lung conditions can also do the following:

  • Be especially careful about monitoring your health. Take all of the medicine you are supposed to take, and do everything your nurse or doctor tells you to do. Make sure you have a week’s supply of your medication available.
  • If you plan to use a portable air cleaner, buy one appropriately matched to room size, as specified by the manufacturer, before a smoke emergency occurs. Do not use units that may emit ozone.
  • Talk to your nurse or doctor if you have any other concerns about your health. Again, you can also call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465) to speak with a registered nurse. If it is an emergency call 911.

For further information:
Alberta Health Services
Residents can contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).
BlueSky
View an animated hour-by-hour forecast of how smoke may travel from wildfires in Western Canada for up to 48 hours in the future. Different levels of smoke are provided in colors that correspond to different concentrations of smoke (particulate matter 2.5). People who view this site should keep in mind that like a weather forecast, local conditions may vary.

http://www.bcairquality.com/bluesky/index.html

Health Advisory: Fires continue to cause poor air quality in the North Zone

The following information is courtesy Alberta Health and Wellness:

May 25, 2011

GRANDE PRAIRIE and FORT MCMURRAY – Due to air quality deterioration caused by fires burning in multiple areas across northern Alberta, Alberta Health Services is continuing to advise residents to take precautions against potential health risks associated with current air conditions. With the rapidly changing weather patterns, the air quality in a local area can change often daily or hourly.

The fine particulate matter in smoke can be absorbed deep into an individual’s lungs where it can cause health problems. Those with chronic respiratory conditions, such as COPD and asthma, or chronic cardiac illness, like congestive heart failure or angina, can be more sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“People with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or angina should continue to monitor their symptoms and take any preventative measures their physicians have previously recommended,” advises Dr. Sikora, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. “Those individuals who experience difficulty breathing, or chest discomfort, should consult their physicians.”

Dr. Sikora also recommends individuals with respiratory conditions remain indoors, keep their windows closed and limit strenuous physical activity.

Residents can contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

As fires continue to burn within the North zone, it is expected that air quality will be highly variable. This advisory continues to be in effect until further notice.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Information about the air quality in many areas of the North Zone is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website at:

http://www.envinfo.gov.ab.ca/AirQuality/

Peace Region Air Quality Update

GRANDE PRAIRIE,AB, MAY 23, 2011: PAZA is a multi stakeholder organization that monitors outdoor air quality in the south peace region. PAZA currently operates six continuous monitoring stations and 43 passive monitoring stations located throughout the region.

Around midnight last night PAZA observed a shift in wind direction to northeast, east. With this change in wind direction PAZA is observing higher fine particulate matter readings across our network, due to wildfires burning in Alberta.

With the increase in fine particulate matter, the air quality index has shifted to “poor” at the Grande Prairie Henry Pirker station and Beaverlodge stations. Alberta Environment summarizes effects associated with AQI index ratings as outlined below.

While fine particulate matter readings were climbing overnight with the increase precipitation this morning, readings while still higher than usually, have been decreasing since 5 am this morning.

Please contact Alberta Health Services for further information regarding public health concerns with air quality.

PAZA will continue to monitor air quality throughout the region and provide updates on any changes.

PRESS RELEASE:

Contact: Peace Airshed Zone Association (PASZA) Phone: (780) 833-4343

Box 21135 Grande Prairie, AB. T8V 6W7 Phone (780) 833-4343 1-866-764-2681 www.pasza.ca


Health Advisory: Air quality advisory in effect for northern Alberta

The following information is courtesy Alberta Health and Wellness:

May 16, 2011

WESTLOCK – Due to air quality deterioration caused by fires burning in northern Alberta, Alberta Health Services is advising northern residents to take precautions against potential health risks associated with current air conditions. With the rapidly changing wind patterns, the amount of smoke present in a local area can change quickly. Fires are affecting air quality in the Wood Buffalo area, along with locales in the west and central portions of northern Alberta.

Smoke and fine particulate matter in the air can be absorbed deep into an individual’s lungs, causing health problems, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions, such as COPD and asthma, and for individuals with chronic cardiac illness such as congestive heart failure or angina.

Although the quality of air at present is not generally a health hazard for those in good health, air quality conditions can change rapidly. People with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or angina should monitor their reactions and take any preventative measures their physicians have previously recommended.

“People with respiratory conditions are advised to remain indoors, keep their windows closed and limit outdoor physical activity,” said Dr. Albert de Villiers, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. “People who experience difficulty breathing should consult their physicians.”

Residents can contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Please note that this advisory is in effect until further notice.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Information about the air quality in the northern Alberta is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website at:

http://www.envinfo.gov.ab.ca/airquality/

Peace Region Air Quality Update

GRANDE PRAIRIE,AB, MAY 16, 2011: PAZA is a multi stakeholder organization that monitors outdoor air quality in the south peace region. PAZA currently operates six continuous monitoring stations and 43 passive monitoring stations located throughout the region.

PAZA is monitoring the air quality readings closely with wildfires burning in our region. Over the last 24 hours we have observed a slight increase in the fine particulate matter levels late afternoon and into the evening on May 15 with the wind direction out of the east, more notably at the Smoky Heights station. With the shift in wind direction and calms winds from the west, the fine particulate matter levels have decreased over night and into this morning. We are still seeing a very slight increase in fine particulate matter across the region this hour. PAZA continues to measure “good” air quality index (AQI) readings at the Grande Prairie Henry Pirker station. While the Beaverlodge station is measuring a “fair” air quality index (AQI) ratings as of 9 A.M. this morning, with a few hours or “fair” rating on May 15th.

Alberta Environment summarizes effects associated with AQI index ratings as outlined below.

Please contact Alberta Health Services for further information regarding public health concerns. PASZA continues to monitor air quality throughout the region.

PRESS RELEASE:

Contact: Peace Airshed Zone Association (PASZA) Phone: (780) 833-4343

Box 21135 Grande Prairie, AB. T8V 6W7 Phone (780) 833-4343 1-866-764-2681 www.pasza.ca