Philadelphia is currently under an air quality alert. This means that the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups to breathe and residents should be taking precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Residents who need KN-95 masks can receive them for free at any of the following locations:
- Four of the five Health Department resource hubs (Mt. Enon is closed this week.)
- All Philadelphia Police Districts
- Philadelphia Fire stations
Update on City services
In light of the improved air quality, all City services, including pools and outdoor summer camps, will be operating normally.
When Philadelphia is under an air quality alert, the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups including children, elderly people, people who are pregnant, and those with respiratory diseases or heart conditions. Residents are still encouraged to continue taking precautions to protect themselves. Masks are available at no cost at locations throughout the city. And the wildfires in Canada are still burning, so it is important that residents continue to stay alert for updates.
The Health Department recommends doing the following to reduce exposure to from poor air quality:
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and young children:
- Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
- Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
- Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
- Consider wearing a high quality mask to limit your exposure to pollutants.
Measures for all to consider:
- Close all windows and doors to minimize air pollution in your home if possible.
- Recirculate air with fans to avoid bringing more air pollution into your home.
- Avoid areas of high congestion and where air pollution may be high (e.g., main streets or highways, areas with low circulation).
People with underlying illnesses should monitor for symptoms, including trouble breathing, nausea, and dizziness. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Pay attention to your body. Even people without underlying conditions may still be feeling the effects of poor air quality. Go slow and go inside or seek medical attention if you are not feeling well.
Finally, residents should keep up to date on the situation. Here are places you can learn what’s going on:
- Follow the Health Department on Twitter
- Follow the Office of Emergency Management on Twitter
- Sign up for emergency alerts by texting ReadyPhila to 888-777
- See the latest air quality conditions in Philadelphia on the Health Department’s website
What’s going on?
There are currently hundreds of wildfires burning across eastern Canada. These wildfires are creating an enormous amount of smoke that is blanketing parts of the United States. Wildfire smoke contains very fine particles, called PM 2.5, that can penetrate deep into people’s lungs and cause damage.
Who is at risk?
Everyone in Philadelphia should be concerned and take precautions. We’re especially worried about people who are sensitive to air quality problems, like those with lung or heart conditions, people who are pregnant, the elderly, and the very young. We’re also worried about people who will be doing strenuous activities outdoors.
How long will this last?
The City is hopeful that the air quality will improve soon, but because the cause of the smoke is in Canada, we don’t know how long this could last. It might get better soon, it might get worse, which is why it’s important for folks to stay informed and up to date on the latest recommendations.