Camden County has updated its status from Code Orange to a Code Red Fine Particles Action Day Alert due to smoke traveling from wildfires in 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.
“Even if you aren’t classified as a sensitive individual or have pre-existing conditions, we are still recommending for everyone to try to minimize the time they are spending outside today,” said Dr. Paschal Nwako, Camden County’s Health Officer. “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 principal reason for the public health concern with the air quality is based on the amount of fine particulate matter in the air defined as concentrations of 2.5 microns or smaller, better known as PM2.5. These particles are tiny and easily inhaled. According to the World Health Organization, PM2.5 is responsible for the biggest proportion of health effects from air pollution.
The Health Department and the Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the air quality and provide updates as they become available.