For Immediate Release:
September 3, 2009
Wildfires and Smoke Don’t Take a Holiday
Public Health Offers Tips to Enjoy a Safe Labor Day Weekend
LOS ANGELES – With portions of the county still blanketed by toxic smoke from the wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest, residents are urged to keep the health and wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones in mind when making plans for Labor Day weekend.
“I understand that families look forward to Labor Day for barbeques and spending time outdoors,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “But with the Station Fire continuing to burn in Los Angeles County, you may want to adjust your plans to avoid smoke-related health hazards.”
In all areas of visible smoke or where there is an odor of smoke, residents are advised to avoid unnecessary outdoor activity. “If you live in an area directly impacted by smoke, you should consider either holding your holiday celebrations indoors or moving them to another location,” Dr. Fielding said. “If you decide to move indoors, we recommend keeping your windows closed and turning on an air conditioner that re-circulates the air to help filter out harmful particles.”
Throughout Los Angeles County, sensitive individuals, such as those with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory disease, should avoid outdoor activity and stay indoors as much as possible even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen or there is no odor of smoke.
Other important safety tips include:
- Always remember that grills are meant for use outdoors, in a well-ventilated area. For questions about using gas or charcoal barbeque grills, check your local city’s fire code.
- If you live in a smoke-impacted area and it is too hot during the day to keep your windows closed but you do not have an air conditioning unit that re-circulates indoor air, consider moving your celebration to an indoor public place, such as a restaurant or mall.
- If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth.
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