County of San Mateo Urges Public to Take Health Precautions
San Mateo County and its cities are experiencing unhealthy air quality due to the wildfires in the North Bay and is urging the public to take precautions against the potentially hazardous conditions.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) predicts the quality will remain impacted for several days to come and can improve or worsen quickly due to wind speed and direction. Those with heart or lung disease, older adults, pregnant women, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion and either move or reschedule outdoor activities. All others should also reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and take breaks during outdoor activity.
The smell of smoke is likely a result of fires in Napa and Sonoma counties. Please do not call 9-1-1 to report, unless you see fire. If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.
What can you do?
• If you see or smell smoke in your immediate area, stay indoors, if possible, with windows and doors closed and air conditioning units on recirculate to avoid drawing outside air into buildings.
• Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website (airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&zipcode=94105&submit=Go) for real-time air quality readings in your zip code. For information about the safe cleanup of fire ash, see arb.ca.gov/carpa/toolkit/emerg-response/safe-cleanup-fire-ash.pdf.
• Parents and school administrators should check air quality readings before allowing children outdoors while air quality is unhealthy.
• Because of the serious air quality conditions in parts of the Bay Area, residents should avoid adding additional air pollution by curtailing air polluting activities such as wood burning, lawn mowing and leaf blowing, driving and barbecuing.
For more information about protection from wildfire smoke, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage: cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/smoke.html.
Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including:
• Repeated coughing
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Chest tightness or pain
• Nausea or unusual fatigue
Older adults, pregnant women, children and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breath in wildfire smoke. Those experiencing significant symptoms should contact their health care provider and call 9-1-1 in the event of a lifethreatening emergency.
Public health advice is guided by the BAAQMD. Frequently Asked Questions about health and air quality are available from the San Mateo County Health System at: smchealth.org/alert.
The public is also encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at smcalert.info.