Air Quality Health Advisory Issued for Tomorrow, June 30
Emergency Cell Phone Alerts Will Warn New Yorkers If Air Quality Index Exceeds 200 Threshold For ‘Very Unhealthy’ Air; Example of Potential Alert Available Here
Hundreds of Thousands of N95-Style Masks Will Continue to be Available to the Public Statewide
Transit Authorities Across the State Will Keep Utilizing Public Address Systems, Bus Headway Signs, Social Media, and Other Electronic Signage to Deliver Air Quality Related Safety Information
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the statewide air quality health advisory will remain in effect through Friday, June 30, as air quality in New York State continues to be impacted by Canadian wildfires. State Agencies and Authorities continue to coordinate air quality monitoring, public awareness and education, mask distribution, and other efforts to prevent or limit exposure to elevated levels of smoke-driven air pollution across New York. The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health are closely monitoring air quality for impacts from Canadian wildfires and will issue an Air Quality Health Advisory for tomorrow. An Air Quality Health Advisory is currently in effect, with levels of particulate matter pollution that are 'Unhealthy' and 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' in regions statewide Earlier today, Governor Hochul updated New Yorkers on the air quality ahead of the July 4th
"With ground-level smoke more visible and air quality continuing to reach unhealthy levels in many parts of the state, we encourage New Yorkers to take precautions to protect their health," Governor Hochul said. "We will continue to keep our communities informed of the steps people can take to stay safe outdoors and adapt as forecasts continue to evolve."
On Friday, June 30, smoke is expected to remain in New York State for most of the day. High pressure will strengthen over coastal New England and clockwise circulation will work up wind from the south, which is expected to start pushing smoke back northward toward Canada. Abundant smoke remains over the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic regions, and while levels of particulate matter pollution should improve slightly, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) forecasts elevated levels of pollution statewide for most of the day. Currently, longer-range smoke forecast modeling shows steady clearing and diffusing from south to north across New York State into Saturday morning.
Air quality is forecasted to reach ‘Unhealthy’ Air Quality Index (AQI) levels on Friday for Western and Central New York and Eastern Lake Ontario regions. At this level, everyone may begin to experience health effects, members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Air quality is forecasted to reach ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’ AQI on Friday in the remaining regions of the State. At this level, members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected. To learn more, see chart here.
Additional forecast information will be available tomorrow. While Air Quality Index levels are forecast to range from 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' to 'Unhealthy' for all during this time, DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories and corresponding guidelines based on 24-hour forecasts and one-hour values may exceed forecast values in these regions, with possible Unhealthy or Very Unhealthy hourly readings.
Emergency cell phone alerts will be used to warn New Yorkers in the event air quality index meets or exceeds 200, for 'Very Unhealthy' air, and is sustained for an hour or more. The alerts will be transmitted county-by-county from the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services via the Wireless Emergency Alert system ;An example of a potential alert is available here.
Visit dec.ny.gov for updated forecasts and information about air quality index levels, and www.health.ny.gov for information on health risks and precautions related to air quality. Also note that early Independence Day fireworks celebrations may contribute particulates and smoke to create temporary, locally-elevated conditions and may be noted by air monitoring devices.
We encourage New Yorkers to take precautions to protect their health."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC’s expert meteorologists rigorously assess a wide range of factors to forecast air quality, including data trends, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and smoke modeling forecasts. We will continue to keep public health and safety front and center as we continue to closely monitor this ongoing air quality event to ensure New Yorkers have the information they need to protect themselves and their families.”
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. McDonald said, “As we can see and smell in much of the state, air quality across large portions of New York is currently unhealthy ;New Yorkers who are especially sensitive to elevated levels of pollutants, including the very young and those with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or asthma, should avoid spending time outdoors, if possible, in areas where the AQI is over 100. If you must go outdoors in areas that have air that is unhealthy or worse, consider wearing an N95 mask. Those who experience symptoms, or have symptoms that worsen, should consider consulting their health care provider."
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "We are monitoring air quality throughout the State. New Yorkers should stay alert heading into the holiday weekend. Know your risk and know your air quality and be prepared to adjust your plans if needed.”
At the Governor's direction, more than 1 million high-quality N95-style masks have been distributed this month to help address air quality impacts.
In New York City this week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are distributing masks to commuters at major transit hubs and state parks.
Outside of New York City, the State is making hundreds of thousands of additional masks available at its regional stockpiles to county emergency managers for further distribution to the public.
Masks are available at the following locations:
- Grand Central Terminal
- Penn Station
- Fulton Center
- Jamaica Station
- Main Concourse of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, South Wing
- Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
- Grand Concourse, Bronx
- Shirley Chisholm State Park
- Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
- Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
- Roberto Clemente State Park
Transit authorities across the state are utilizing public address systems, bus headway signs, social media and other electronic signage to provide air-quality related safety information directly to customers, including:
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- Westchester County Bee-Line
- Broome County Transit
- Capital District Transportation Authority
- Central New York Regional Transportation Authority
- Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
- Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
- Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit
The New York State Department of Health is advising precautions as necessary. Steps for individuals to take to reduce risk, include:
- When AQI is greater than 100 ('Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups'), New Yorkers in vulnerable groups should avoid exertion outdoors and watch for symptoms when exposed to the outdoors. Vulnerable individuals include those with cardiovascular disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, history of prior heart attack) or lung disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as children under 18, adults 65 and older, and pregnant people ;
- When AQI is greater than 150 ('Unhealthy'), all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and those in vulnerable groups should avoid exposure to the outdoors, especially pregnant individuals who may become short of breath more easily. In addition, some employees who are vulnerable should work indoors and camp directors should know their local AQI forecast and alert level and follow AQI guidance ;
- When AQI is greater than 200 ('Very Unhealthy'), vulnerable groups should avoid all physical activity outdoors, and reschedule or move activities indoors. All others should avoid long or intense outdoor activities.
- When AQI is greater than 300 ('Hazardous'), all New Yorkers should avoid outdoor physical activities.
- For people who spend time outdoors, when air quality is unhealthy, wearing a well-fitting face mask is recommended. A N95 or KN95 will work best.
More information about New York State Air Quality forecast is available here. To check your location's current air quality, go to www.airnow.gov.
Governor Hochul announced yesterday that eight Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers have deployed to Quebec for approximately two weeks to assist with efforts to contain the ongoing wildfires. Earlier this week, Governor Hochul welcomed home eight Rangers deployed to Nova Scotia and Quebec.
Contact the Governor’s Press Office
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