Air Pollution

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Emergency Management training in action

While Bellevue's air quality is generally good, there are a few pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. Transportation, construction and demolition, particulate molecules such as pollen, and wildfires can all affect our air quality. Lastly, and while extremely rare, a volcanic eruption can spread ash and sulfur dioxide, triggering an emergency health and air quality warning for the entire region.

There are several agencies that focus, gather and share air quality data and maps.

  • AirNow is a partnership of multiple governmental agencies which provides a centralized data system to display consistent air quality and smoke data to the public. 
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency covers King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  They offer detailed recommendations on preparing for and responding to wildfire smoke. 
  • Air Quality Index (AQI) is the official index for air quality across the United States. 

Air Quality Index 

Is a color-coded tool divided into six categories for measuring and reporting daily air quality.  The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of pollutants in the air and the greater the risk for negative health effects. 

  • Green: A value index of 0-50, good.
    • Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. 
  • Yellow: A value index of 51-100, moderate. 
    • Air quality is acceptable.  However, there may be some risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. 
  • Orange: A value index of 101-150, unhealthy for sensitive groups. 
    • Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects.  The general public is less likely to be effected. 
  • Red: A value index of 151-200, unhealthy.
    • Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
  • Purple: A value index of 201-300, very unhealthy.
    • The risk of health effects is increased for everyone. 
  • Maroon: A value of 301-500, hazardous. 
    • Health warning of emergency conditions, everyone is likely to be affected. 

When Air Quality is Unhealthy

  • People, especially children, expectant mothers, the elderly and individuals with respiratory illnesses, should avoid prolonged physical exertion outdoors. 
    • watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. 
  • Consider staying indoors and reschedule outdoor activities to a time when the air quality is better. 
    • Close windows and doors as much as possible. 
    • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible. 
    • If your house becomes too hot, keep up with your local news and alerts to learn about potential cooling shelters in your area. 
      • Sign up for Bellevue Alert System to receive Bellevue related emergency and extreme weather notifications. 

Check here for more information on how you can keep your inside air as clean and healthy as possible.