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2011 Air Alert Summary Report

To view the summary of the inaugural Air Alert season, click here.

For a copy of the media kit, please click here.

You can sign up to receive Air Alert email here.

What is an Air Alert?

An Air Alert is a notification that the Valley is currently experiencing conditions that may lead to exceeding a health-based ozone (smog) standard. Air Alerts are issued Valley-wide.

In addition to the negative effects on our health, ozone exceedances can also result in monetary penalties to the Valley. This would impose severe financial burdens on Valley businesses and, ultimately, our residents.

When an Air Alert is called by the Air District, Valley residents and businesses are advised to put into place measures that reduce vehicle use. These can include carpooling, vanpooling, using alternative transportation, avoiding the use of drive-through services and refraining from vehicle idling.

An Air Alert episode may last anywhere from several hours to several days.

You can sign up to receive Air Alert email here.

How can you reduce pollution?

It’s important to take steps to reduce pollution at all times, but especially during an Air Alert.

During an Air Alert episode, residents can reduce their vehicle use to minimize smog-forming emissions by:

  • Carpooling or vanpooling
  • Using alternative transportation including bicycling, walking and mass transit
  • “Linking” trips (doing all your errands at once)
  • Eliminating vehicle idling
  • Reducing your vehicle trips

Businesses can help reduce workplace-centered emissions by:

  • Becoming a Healthy Air Living Partner and receiving free tools and resources for reducing emissions
  • Ordering lunch in to eliminate the need for employees to drive during lunch
  • Offering scheduling flexibility to reduce commute-time traffic
  • Making telecommuting available to employees

In addition to preventing the consequences of exceeding health-based ozone standards, which include poor health and monetary penalties, changing out activities to air-friendly, emission-reducing alternatives will keep our air cleaner all the time. And that’s better for everyone!

Protect your health

When air pollution is increasing, it’s critical to understand how to protect your health. One way to do that is to understand the Air Quality Index (AQI), the color-coded chart that recommends activity modifications based on pollution levels. Learn about the AQI here.

Why is there an Air Alert program?

The Valley air basin (which include the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and portions of Kern) is out of attainment of federal health-based standards for ozone (smog). Because the Valley exceeded the 1-hour ozone standard in 2010, the federal Clean Air Act required penalty fees to be imposed on Valley businesses.

But because Valley businesses have reduced their emissions by 50 percent since the Air District was formed, and in many cases, have implemented emission reductions far above those required by the federal government, the Air District developed a program to satisfy the Clean Air Act requirements while not penalizing well-controlled Valley businesses.

However, in the future, there may again be penalties for failure to meet the 1-hour ozone standard. This would be devastating to the entire Valley, which is already in the grip of a protracted economic downturn.

Therefore, in order to avoid the prospect of facing multimillion-dollar economic sanctions, the Air District has developed the Air Alert program to notify the public when, in any part of the air basin, we are approaching the threshold for the1-hour ozone standard.

Real-Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN)

An important tool to use for protecting your health in your neighborhood is the Real-Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN). This resource is available at no charge to anyone in the Valley.

RAAN links your site of preference to the nearest monitoring site and provides real-time air quality updates, enabling you to gauge the air quality where you live or work, and adjust your activities as appropriate.

RAAN issues automated emails with air quality information on an hourly basis as it either significantly improves or declines.

It’s easy to enroll! Visit the RAAN home page here. A tutorial and complete instructions for subscribing to and using RAAN are provided.

It is the belief of the District that, as in so many things, the best solution to a problem is to avoid creating it in the first place.