Ann Erdman is the Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena, California.
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Monday, August 31, 2009
Station Fire Update for Pasadena
All Pasadena residents are advised to avoid outside activity, run air filters or air conditioners that don’t draw in outside air, monitor fire and smoke status via local news organizations and be prepared to leave homes if conditions change.
As of Sunday morning, residents of the Florecita neighborhood in Pasadena were notified that they may return to their homes. However, if conditions change and evacuation orders are issued by local authorities, residents are asked to comply with the orders to prevent loss of life and ensure that firefighting efforts are not compromised.
Smoke and ash from the Station Fire are still heavy today, so everyone is advised by the Pasadena Public Health Department to avoid outside activity, especially elderly residents, children, pregnant women and people who have heart or respiratory health issues. Schools that are in session, after-school programs and sports organizations for children (such as Little League) are advised to cancel outdoor practices in areas where there is visible smoke, soot or ash, or where there is an odor of smoke. Outdoor activities should be suspended until conditions improve.
The following recommendations from Pasadena Public Health Department will help residents protect themselves and their families from harmful effects of bad air quality:
* If outdoor air is bad, try to keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed. Air conditioners that re-circulate air within the home can help filter out harmful particles.
* Avoid using air conditioning units that only draw in air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option. Residents should check the filters on their air conditioners and replace them regularly. Indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters can further reduce the level of particles that circulate indoors.
* If it is too hot during the day to keep doors or windows closed and you do not have an air conditioning unit that re-circulates indoor air, consider going to an air conditioned public place, such as a library or shopping center, to stay cool and protect yourself from harmful air.
* Do not use wood-burning or gas fireplaces, candles and vacuums. Use damp cloths to clean dusty indoor surfaces. Do not smoke.
* If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your physician immediately or go to an urgent care center.
* When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine particles can build up indoors even though you may not be able to see them. Wearing a mask may prevent exposures to large particles. However, most masks do not prevent exposure to fine particles and toxic gases, which may be more dangerous to your health.
All Pasadena residents and businesses should review their personal, family and workplace emergency plans and make sure their emergency preparedness kits are up to date. More information about emergency preparedness can be found at www.cityofpasadena.net/disaster; more information about preventing the health impacts of fire-related smoke can be found at www.aqmd.gov/ej/cac/wildfire_safety_tips.htm.
Due to hot temperatures, possible gusty winds and low humidity expected to fall below 10 percent for several hours today, the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning – a higher risk of wildfires – that will be in effect in the mountains of Los Angeles County until 9 p.m. tonight.