The Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with the Northern Health Authority has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Vanderhoof due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter
that are expected to persist until weather conditions change.
Exposure is particularly a concern for individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and diabetes; respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women, infants, and older adults. Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Where appropriate, maintain physical distancing. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, should follow the advice of their health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce particulate matter exposure. Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-landwater/air .
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
- Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity; if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
- Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor particulate levels provided they are the right size for your home and filters are changed regularly.
- In public spaces, buildings with large indoor volumes of filtered outside air may provide temporary relief. When indoors, ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed. Be aware that space within indoor public buildings may be limited due to physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19.
Additional tips for persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:
- People with heart or respiratory conditions (including COVID-19) should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
- People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
- People with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.
- Stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves. When indoors, ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed.
Mandatory Emission Reduction Actions:
- Industry is required to follow permit requirements that are triggered during air quality advisories and are asked to reduce emissions wherever possible. Voluntary Emission Reduction Actions:
- Avoid the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless the sole source of residential heat.
- Where woodstoves or fireplaces are the sole sources of residential heat, burn dry wood and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.
- Reduce the use and idling of vehicles.