PHILADELPHIA— The smoke in Philadelphia from wildfires in Canada has lessened significantly since Wednesday night. Due to the improved air quality conditions, City operations affected by Thursday’s air quality are expected to resume as usual on Friday.
Outdoor programming and events at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation spaces will resume their schedules. Recreation centers are open until 9 p.m. this evening.
Streets Department crews will be working through Saturday to pick up any delayed trash and recycling collections. On Friday, trash and recycling materials not collected from Thursday’s sanitation routes will be picked up. Crews will also begin picking up materials regularly collected on Friday’s sanitation routes. The completion of Friday’s routes will take place on Saturday. Other services that will resume include paving, traffic, street lighting and street repairs.
However, Philadelphia is currently still under an air quality alert and 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.
For sensitive groups, the Health Department recommends doing the following to reduce exposure to poor air quality today:
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.
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 the recent hazardous air pollution event. Go slow and go inside or seek medical attention if you are not feeling well.
Residents who need masks to safely be outside can receive them for free from the City at the following locations:
- Health Department Resource Hubs (locations available in the City’s Resource Hubs blog post).
- All Philadelphia Police Districts
- Philadelphia Fire stations
- The City is working with community partners, like Dr. Ala Stanford at the Black Doctors Consortium. You can contact the consortium at https://blackdoctorsconsortium.com/ or 484-270-6200.
The City is connected with partner organizations that serve homebound individuals to provide them with supplies as needed.
Residents can receive two masks per person and may retrieve supplies for individuals at home who cannot make it themselves. Masks are adult-sized only.
Residents also advised to keep an eye on the situation and change their behaviors based on the amount of smoke in the air. The Health Department publishes real-time air pollution readings at https://www.phila.gov/aqi.
The Health Department and the Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the air quality and provide updates as they become available. The City is in communication with the organizers of upcoming weekend events, and any event changes related to air quality will be communicated through the organizers.
For more information, please visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Twitter account, the Health Department’s Twitter account, and register to receive emergency alerts from ReadyPhiladelphia by texting READYPHILA to 888-777 or visiting https://www.phila.gov/ready.