Air quality in San Luis Obispo has returned to normal after dropping to moderate levels due to wildfires in Northern and Southern California, according to the Air Pollution Control District (APCD).
Air quality ratings ranged from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups for the past week, according to APCD. The air quality at the San Luis Obispo air monitoring station was reported as moderate Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.
Cal Poly has plans in place to address poor air quality, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier.
If air quality presents an active health hazard, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and Department of Emergency Management could take actions including canceling classes or closing campus, according to Lazier.
Several colleges, including Sonoma State University and UC Los Angeles, had at least some classes cancelled last week due to effects from fires.
Several precautions can be taken when there is smoke in the air, including closing doors and windows that lead outdoors, remaining inside when possible and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity, according to an APCD news release.
Sensitive groups, including children, older adults and those with respiratory illnesses and heart conditions, should be especially cautious, the release said.
Safety masks may not always be helpful, according to APCD Air Quality Specialist Gary Arcemont. Facial hair can cause the mask to not fit properly, and if a person has a health condition that causes difficulty breathing, a mask may make breathing more difficult.
“You want to go into a room where you know the air is being filtered and is clean,” Arcemont said.
There can be spikes in air quality throughout the day, Arcemont said. Even if the forecast says the air quality is moderate, it may be unhealthy for a short period of the day. It’s always a good idea for people to pay attention to how they feel, he said.