Think of the colors as a yardstick for health risks
The AQI is divided into levels to help people know when safety precautions are necessary. Few health effects are expected in the green (good) or yellow (moderate) zones. When the AQI reaches 101 (orange), the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children. At 151 (red) or higher, the air is unhealthy for everyone, even those with no prior health concerns. The likelihood of health problems is higher in the very unhealthy (purple) zone. Beyond that (the maroon or emergency zone) is when air quality conditions are the worst and the highest precautions are essential.
What to do when the AQI affects you
Recirculate the air in your home's central heating/cooling system (shut off the fresh-air intake) and make sure the filter has been recently changed.
Close all windows and doors.
Avoid exertion and only exercise indoors.
If you must go outside, only do so if you have no prior health concerns and the AQI is no higher than the red zone. Limit outdoor time to 30 to 45 minutes. Also wear an N95 or alternative filtering facepiece respirator and make sure it fits very close to the face for best filtration.
Those with chronic health conditions should closely watch their symptoms. Those with lung disease like asthma and COPD should especially monitor shortness of breath. Call your doctor if symptoms worsen. If they do get worse and don’t respond to your usual medication, don't delay in seeking urgent or emergency care.
Outside Work Activity Guidelines
Oregon OSHA has issued Wildfire Smoke and Outside Work Activities Guidelines for employers who have employees working outside during air quality events created by the wildfires.
If the AQI is above 150, please consider rescheduling the work or activity, if feasible, to a time when the air quality improves. If the work or activity cannot be rescheduled, N95 or alternative filtering facepiece respirators must be provided in accordance with Oregon OSHA guidelines.
Contact [email protected] for questions regarding respirators.
See the Respiratory Protection Program for additional information.