Air Quality Advisories

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Frequently asked questions about air quality advisories

What is a Smog and Air Health Advisory (SAHA)?

If the AQHI is forecasting a high risk, red air day (7-10) and the Air Quality Health Index is forecast to be persistent, lasting at least 3 hours, then a Smog and Air Health Advisory (SAHA) will be issued.

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What is a Special Air Quality Statement (SAQS)?

If the AQHI is forecasting a high risk, red air day (7-10) and the Air Quality Health Index value is forecast to last for 1 to 2 hours, then a Special Air Quality Statement (SAQS) will be issued. The purpose of a Special Air Quality Statement is to be precautionary and to be vigilant of your health as it relates to the Air Quality Health Index.

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What is the purpose of Special Air Quality Statements and Smog and Air Health Advisories?

The purpose of these alerts is to inform people with breathing difficulties to avoid unnecessary exposure to smog, to inform major pollution sources that they should consider, if possible, reducing their emissions, and to solicit everyone's help in lessening the problem by curtailing activities that produce smog.

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What is the difference between a Special Air Quality Statement (SAQS) and a Smog and Air Health Advisory (SAHA)?

If a high risk Air Quality Health Index value is forecast to last for 1 to 2 hours, then a Special Air Quality Statement (SAQS) will be issued. The purpose of a Special Air Quality Statement is to be precautionary and to be vigilant of your health as it relates to the Air Quality Health Index.

If the high risk Air Quality Health Index is forecast to be persistent, a duration of at least 3 hours, then a Smog and Air Health Advisory (SAHA) will be issued.

Both Special Air Quality Statements and Smog and Air Health Advisories are issued jointly by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

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What should I do if a Special Air Quality Statement or Smog and Air Health Advisory is called?

Here are some actions you can take to help protect the environment and your own health:

At home:
  • Conserve electricity year-round by adjusting the heat or air conditioner and turning off lights you are not using.
  • Avoid letting your car, or any other engine, idle for long periods.
  • Reduce your use of gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn when air quality is poor.
  • Don't use oil-based products such as paints, solvents or cleaners if you can avoid them. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to smog.
  • Avoid or reduce strenuous physical outdoor activities when smog levels are high, especially during the late afternoon. Do not exert yourself outdoors.
  • If possible, stay indoors in a cool, air-conditioned environment.
  • Get engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks as advised by the car manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
  • Limit the amount of wood you burn in your fireplace or woodstove. When burning wood, use only the dry, seasoned variety.
At work:
  • If possible, take public transit, or walk to work.
  • If you use a car, don't travel alone; encourage and facilitate carpooling.
  • Avoid traffic congestion.
  • Consider teleconferencing, instead of traveling to meetings.

As always, consult your doctor for specific medical advice on how to cope with poor air quality.

Halton Smog and Air Health Advisories and Special Air Quality Statements to Date

Total # of Smog and Air Health Advisories in 2015: 0
Total # of Days: 0

Total # of Smog and Air Health Advisories in 2016: 0
Total # of Days: 0

Halton Special Air Quality Statements in 2015: 1
Total # of Days:1

Halton Special Air Quality Statements in 2016: 2
Total # of Days: 2


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