Air quality safety information
Fri, Sep 11 11:54am

We must all be mindful and stay inside as much as possible while the air quality is dangerous due to wildfire smoke. Please read the information below and share with anyone who could benefit from it.  Thank you to all of the First Responders for caring for our community! Stay safe Argonne!

Designated Weather Relief Centers
San Francisco has established Weather Relief Centers in the following locations:

Library Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (Friday & Sunday); 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (Saturday)
- Main, 100 Larkin St
- Chinatown 1135 Powell St
- Mission Bay 960 4th St
- SE Community Facility 1800 Oakdale Ave, Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

If the smell of smoke is present, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure.

  • If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside.
  • Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
  • Offices, childcare programs, out-of-school-time (OST) programs and other businesses that have been directed to increase ventilation in indoor spaces to the extent possible to minimize COVID-19 risk are not required to close if they now need to shut windows or adjust their ventilation systems to minimize exposure to wildfire smoke.
  • Whenever ventilation is reduced by closing windows or reducing outside air intake, entities and individuals should be particularly mindful of precautions to reduce transmission of COVID-19: wash and sanitize hands frequently, follow all face covering and physical distancing requirements (stay 6 feet apart from people outside of your household), clean frequently touched surfaces and items regularly, and remind everyone who can work remotely to do so.  
  • If you are in an affected area and need to go outside, be mindful of the same precautions above to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD. Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.

Contact your health care provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Repeated coughing 
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
• Wheezing 
• Chest tightness or pain 
• Palpitations 
• Nausea or unusual fatigue 
• Lightheadedness 

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a live-threatening emergency, call 911.

Respirators and Masks 
COVID-19 is circulating in our community and the best way to protect yourself from the virus and poor air quality is to stay indoors. Face coverings should be worn outside to prevent the spread of the virus.

N-95 Respirators
N-95 respirators are no substitute for being indoors. If you need to go outside and have access to an N-95, here is what you need to know:

• N-95 respirators with one way valves are not allowed because they do not protect others from COVID-19. Wearing a mask over an exhalation valve equipped respirator is acceptable. 
• N-95 respirators may not be helpful for all people, when trying to avoid smoke exposure and may be dangerous for certain people with lung or heart conditions.
• Certified N-95s are not available for children. Children should not wear these masks; they do not fit children properly and can impede breathing.
• If you choose to wear an N-95 respirator, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper fit.
• Wearing an ill-fitted N-95 respirator can lead to a false sense of security about smoke protection and to over exertion.
• Taking an N-95 respirator on and off can cause fine particulate matter to build up in the respirator, which the wearer will breathe when it is put back on the face.
• N-95 respirators, even when worn properly, can become uncomfortable and hot.


Visit these websites for more information: