Here in Calgary, Alberta, where DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is headquartered, the air quality has been referred to as “off the charts bad” by weather analysts in recent days. And they’re not kidding. According to the Government of Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index, health risks due to air quality are rated from 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Anything above 10 is considered “very high”.
As of this morning, Daniel Martins of The Weather Network reports that Calgary’s air quality health index peaked at 19 last night! It goes without saying that this is horrible news. For those who don’t live on Canada’s west coast and may be unaware, the poor air quality in our province has come as a result of the awful wildfires that have been burning in British Columbia for days now.
Martins reports that air quality advisories have been issued for parts of both B.C. and Alberta by Environment Canada. These record-breaking wildfires have been exacerbated by others taking place in the state of Washington, which is just south of B.C. “Southerly winds,” he writes, “have continued to push the smoke northward into this week, and forecasters say there’s little relief ahead in B.C.”
Those of us living in the Calgary area have seen our sunny skies diminish in place of hazy, grey darkness as of late. And unfortunately, the smoky air is doing nothing positive for our respiratory systems. It should come as no surprise that the air quality we are currently experiencing has great potential to cause numerous health problems. As Martins, puts it, “diminishing air quality levels pose a risk to everyone living in the affect areas.”
He goes on to reveal a statement made by Environment Canada which reads: “In the current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.” So what should Albertans be doing to minimize the risk of negative health effects due to the poor air quality? Staying indoors is your best bet. The less bad air you breathe, the better.
Unfortunately, we are in a situation where our indoor air quality is bound to be better than outside. “Outdoor activity should be kept to a minimum during the current advisories,” reiterates Martins. It should be noted, as well, that safety precautions shouldn’t just be followed by individuals with asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. The air is bad enough that everyone should be engaging in safety measures.
Melissa Ramsay of Global News reports that Dr. Jason Cabaj, who is the Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services, strongly suggests that Calgarians stay inside. “Normally with air quality, we’re especially concerned about people with chronic concerns and other vulnerable people such as young children and older adults,” Dr. Cabaj is quoted as saying, “but in this case, the air is poor enough that everybody needs to pay attention to it.”
As well, Martins points out that Calgarians are being asked to follow additional safety measures. He reports that “the Calgary Fire Department has implemented a fire ban, prohibiting the use of fire pits, recreational campfires and fireplaces. The ban is in place in order to minimize additional levels of smoke adding to already poor air quality.” Ramsay adds that Alberta Health Services has offered a number of tips to follow in order to reduce the presence of smoke in homes.
They include locking all windows and doors, turning down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum settings, closing the fresh-air intake on your air conditioners, switching all floor registers to the closed position, closing fireplace dampers on wood burning fireplaces and avoiding the running of “whole-house fans” and “fresh air ventilation systems” that bring smoky outdoor air inside.
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. blog will endeavour to keep an eye on this unfortunate situation. However, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.