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Special Air Quality Statement is in effect due to wildfire smoke

From Ottawa Public Health


(photo from CTV News)


A Special Air Quality Statement has been jointly issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) because high levels of air pollution are expected or occurring. High levels of air pollution are possible through the day today and possibly through Tuesday, June 6th, 2023, due to wildfire smoke migrating into the City of Ottawa.

Ottawa Public Health notifies service providers of vulnerable residents when hazardous levels of air pollution are forecast to advise on how to deal with these conditions.

The MECP measures air quality in the City of Ottawa, provides hourly readings and next day forecasts on the province’s air monitoring network, and calculates the Air Quality Health Index (AHQI), which informs Ontario residents about regional air quality conditions.

Small children, pregnant woman, older adults, people with lung or heart conditions, and people involved in strenuous outdoor work or sports are at greatest risk from poor air quality and should monitor their symptoms and take precautions if warranted until the air quality improves.

Air pollutants including smoke from wildfires can irritate the lungs, eyes, nose, and throat and can cause coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke and should monitor their symptoms and take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and, if necessary, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

When wildfire smoke is affecting our air quality, residents and visitors should:

  • Make a plan to avoid breathing in smoke. depending on your risk factors, and what resources you have available to you. Consider postponing outdoor exercise until the air quality has improved. If your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop the activity and go indoors.

  • Consider staying indoors, shutting windows, and putting your HVAC system on recirculate.

  • Be aware of your symptoms. Call 8-1-1 Health Connect Ontario for non-emergency medical advice and seek medical attention if needed.

  • Follow your asthma or personal care plan if you have asthma or other chronic illnesses.

  • If needed, consider visiting a location like a shopping mall with filtered air.

  • Keep your vehicle windows closed and set the ventilation system to recirculate.

  • Check on neighbours, friends, and family and share this information.

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports since air quality may be poor even though you may not be able to see smoke. Information is available at www.airhealth.ca and www.airqualityontario.com and on our Ottawa Public Health website.

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