Environment Canada issues WC air quality warning

Special to WC Online

WEST CARLETON – Environment Canada says West Carleton’s air quality is very poor due to smoke from forest fires in Ontario and Quebec filling the local atmosphere.

“High levels of air pollution have developed due to smoke from forest fires,” Environment Canada released in a special air quality statement today (June 6). “Smoke plumes from local forest fires as well as forest fires in Quebec have resulted in deteriorated air quality. Poor air quality may persist through most of this week.”

Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour.

“Stop outdoor activities and contact your health care provider if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath, wheezing (including asthma attacks), severe cough, dizziness or chest pains,” Environment Canada said. “Stay inside if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms.”

Keep your indoor air clean.

“Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable,” Environment Canada said. “Use an air purifier with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in a room where you spend a lot of time.”

Avoid air purifiers that produce ozone. Check the filter and change it if required. For more information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/using-portable-air-cleaner-wildfire-smoke.html.

“Take a break from the smoke by temporarily relocating or finding a location in your community with clean, cool air such as a library, shopping mall or community centre,” Environment Canada said. “Contact your local health or municipal authorities for more information.”

If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.

“Be sure to check on people in your care and those around you who may be more susceptible to smoke,” Environment Canada said. “Pay attention to information and direction from your local authorities and evacuate if told to do so.”

Be aware of your mental health.

“It is normal to feel anxious or isolated during a smoke event,” Environment Canada said. “If you experience any feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, contact your mental health care provider for advice or visit https://www.wellnesstogether.ca/en-CA.”

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