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Public Health Issues an Emergency Declaration Due to Prolonged Poor Air Quality

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Public Health Issues an Emergency Declaration Due to Prolonged Poor Air Quality

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September 18, 2012

(Wenatchee, WA) The smoke will be around for at least a few more days, possibly longer. The Health District appeals to all local media to assist in sharing the following messages, and add to any further community messaging needed in the coming days:

Red Cross has established an evacuation shelter open to people needing relief and clean air in Wenatchee in the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 5th and Western. Also a shelter is located in Chelan  at the Senior Center on Trow Ave. This may be helpful to anyone having health problems from the smoke. Also, nearby towns such as Quincy, and Moses Lake have little or no smoke right now and may be good choices for people wanting to leave the area temporarily (even for the day) without having to go all the way to the West side. Of course, if you are having significant problems talk to your health care provider, too.

Employers should recognize that many people have real health problems in conditions like these, and should be lenient in allowing absences. This is especially important for workplaces unable to keep out the smoke, or for jobs done outdoors. If you do not have sufficient staffing (or customers) to stay open, consider temporary closure. That could be much better than assuming liability for the health problems of employees!

School administrators will be making similar decisions over the next few days. These decisions are difficult because some students and staff may find better conditions at school than at home. It all depends on the location and conditions at each school. So please be patient with school officials and stay in touch with your schools if you have school age children.

Finally, we are aware that many buildings have air handling systems that are doing a good job of handling the smoke. If your home or business is one of those places, spend as much time indoors as possible.

More information about current air quality conditions and forest fires is located at:

Ecology:                                  https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/

Forest Service:                       http://www.inciweb.org/

http://www.arb.ca.gov/carpa/toolkit/data-to-mes/wildfire-smoke-guide.pdf

Chelan Douglas Public Health            www.cdhd.wa.gov

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