AUCC Statement & Health Safety Notice: Black Smoke from Forest Fires

Dear AUCC Community,

We are sharing information  about a potential health safety concern regarding the occurrence of forest fires in Canada.  Due to the intensity the fires, it has come to our attention that black smoke is being emitted and may pose potential health risks to sensitive populations in the Metro Atlanta area.  We urge you to take necessary precautions to safeguard your well-being and minimize the adverse effects of exposure to this smoke.

Forest fire smoke, especially when it appears as black smoke, contains various harmful pollutants and particulate matter that can negatively impact your health. Breathing in this smoke may lead to respiratory issues, aggravated asthma symptoms, eye and throat irritation, and other related health problems. It is particularly important for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, young children, and the elderly to be cautious.

According to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Eboni Deon, the smoke will create mainly a visual effect in metro Atlanta, but those who are more sensitive to pollutants may notice some throat irritation. The city’s air quality index values will remain in the “moderate” zone, reflecting that the air quality will be OK for the majority of the public but there may be enough pollutants to be a moderate health concern for those who are more sensitive.

Please keep yourself updated with reliable sources of information such as local authorities, weather reports, and news outlets for updates on conditions and air quality in our area. If you have any risk factors, you should keep windows and doors closed to prevent the entry of smoke, utilize air purifiers or HVAC systems with high-efficiency filters to help improve indoor air quality, limit outdoor activities– especially during times when the smoke is dense or the air quality is compromised. If you must go outside, wear a properly fitted N95 or KN95 respirator mask to filter out harmful particles. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help mitigate any potential respiratory discomfort caused by the smoke.

We appreciate your commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our campus community.

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