The potential threat to one’s health caused by wildfires and general pollution trapped on the valley floor are key reasons that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, along with other public health experts, developed a tool that would provide access to hour-by-hour local air quality conditions. The Real-Time Air Advisory Network is a simple, free tool to help business owners, schools and residents determine their local air quality and can be accessed at www.myRAAN.com or through the “Valley Air” app for iPhone and Android.

RAAN features outdoor activity guidelines for periods of poor air quality, which can help valley residents make informed decisions about when outdoor activities should be limited and for whom. These specific health recommendations are based on five different air-quality levels and are available at www.valleyair.org/ROAR.

The RAAN technology is health protective and can be very beneficial for people who suffer from preexisting heart and lung issues. RAAN offers access to actual concentrations of ozone and particulate matter and residents can choose to be notified by automated emails, text messages or app alerts to indicate significant changes in air quality for locations they have saved.

Another tool available to valley residents is the district’s wildfire resource page, www.valleyair.org/wildfires. This page keeps valley residents informed about wildfires that are affecting air quality in the valley by providing information from the fire agency overseeing the fire and a link to RAAN so residents can check air quality at their location. The page also has great guidance on how to limit exposure to the harmful particulate matter found in smoke, as well as a few informational links to support agencies like the CDC and California Department of Public Health.

District staff also collaborates with the California Office of Emergency Response and public land managers to provide access on the wildfire resource page to any data available when portable air monitoring equipment has been deployed in areas significantly impacted by wildfire smoke.

For more information about the Valley Air District, call a regional office in Fresno 559-230-6000, Modesto 209-557-6400 or Bakersfield 661-392-5500 or visit www.valleyair.org.

Cassandra Melching is an outreach and communications representative with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

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