Code Red For Unhealthy Air Declared

By: Follow South Jersey Staff

Photo credit: Camden County.

BLACKWOOD, N.J. — Camden County and much of the State of New Jersey is currently under a Code Red Fine Particles Action Day Alert due to smoke traveling from wildfires in eastern Canada. This alert means that the air is unhealthy to breathe, and sensitive members of the public – including those with heart or lung disease, the elderly and the young people – may experience health effects.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, there are more than 425 active fires across Canada with more than half out of control which has charred over 9 million acres, roughly the size of Connecticut.

“Even if you aren’t classified as a sensitive individual, we recommend for everyone to try to minimize the time they are spending outside or exerting energy,” Dr. Paschal Nwako, Camden County’s Health Officer, said in a press release from the county. “So if you had plans to participate in outdoor activities or exercise, we strongly urge you to reschedule until the conditions improve.”

Residents are strongly encouraged to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones during this Code Red Action Day. Residents should: 

  • Strongly consider cancelling outdoor events and gatherings 
  • Avoid going outdoors as much as possible 
  • Avoid excessive activities outdoors, such as jogging or exercising 
  • If you have to go outdoors, wear a high-quality mask, like an N-95 or KN-95 mask 
  • Avoid areas of high congestion and where air pollution may be high, like main streets or highways, areas with low air circulation 
  • Close all windows and doors to minimize air pollution in your home 
  • Recirculate the air in your home with fans to avoid bringing more air pollution into your home 
  • Pay attention to their bodies; if they are having trouble breathing, feeling nauseous, or dizzy, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

“To further reduce the amount of pollution across the county, we are also asking residents to avoid unnecessary trips in their cars, avoid idling and carpool, if possible,” Nwako continued. “We also encourage residents to not use gas-powered lawn and garden equipment at this time.” 

The Health Department and the Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the air quality and provide updates as they become available.

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