COQUITLAM, BC, July 30, 2021 – As wildfires continue to affect air quality this summer, Coquitlam facilities are upgraded and prepared to offer Clean Air Spaces if needed.
While Metro Vancouver issued an Air Quality Advisory today, the risk remains moderate to low and is expected to lessen into next week. However, in response, City staff have been installing air filters designed to protect against wildfire smoke at Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex and Glen Pine Pavilion to be prepared to activate as Clean Air Spaces if needed.
The two sites are currently serving as cooling centres in response to the current heatwave over the weekend, and Glen Pine’s hours have been changed to 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and extended to open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, to enhance Coquitlam’s support of those populations more vulnerable to heat and/or smoke.
If air quality worsens and the Clean Air Spaces are activated, the specific hours, locations and other details will be posted on the website at www.coquitlam.ca/cleanairspaces and provided through Coquitlam’s social media channels. The sites would be available during regular operating hours, with the possibility of extended hours if required.
During wildfire season, the City closely monitors trusted sources of air quality and public health information to determine when to activate Clean Air Spaces.
What is a Clean Air Space?
Upgraded to keep out smoke, Coquitlam facilities designated as Clean Air Spaces will open during times when air quality poses a high health risk to give residents a place to spend a few hours breathing in cleaner air.
These facilities have installed clean air filters and charcoal filters to augment existing filtration, updated mechanical systems to provide the option of recirculating interior air, and air curtains to help better seal facility entrances. The City continues to seek to expand the number of facilities outfitted with these systems in anticipation of the ongoing impacts of wildfires on local air quality in the future.
Protecting Your Health
Wildfire smoke is made up of gases and fine particulates that can inflame or irritate the lungs, eyes, nose and throat. The impact of wildfire smoke on residents – particularly those sensitive to poor air quality, such as those with respiratory or chronic health conditions, pregnant people, children and older adults – can be a health risk.
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Emergency Management BC are encouraging residents to take steps to protect themselves from the impact of wildfire smoke. Advice includes:
- Closely monitoring people in your household who may be more sensitive to wildfire smoke, including those with chronic conditions (such as asthma or heart conditions), pregnant people, children and older adults;
- Spending less time outside including reducing outdoor physical activity;
- Keeping windows and doors closed at home (unless temperatures are high—heat-related illness is a more serious health risk for many people than smoke);
- Keeping vehicle windows closed and setting air conditioners to recirculate;
- Wearing a well-fitted respirator or three-layer cloth or disposable mask when outdoors;
- Buying a high-efficiency particulate air filtration system;
- Seeking respite in public facilities like shopping malls, community centres, swimming pools or libraries; and
- Stocking up on medications for respiratory conditions such as asthma.
More information about wildfire smoke and protections can be found on the BCCDC website (www.bccdc.ca > Health Info > Prevention & Public Health > Wildfire Smoke), including fact sheets on face masks and portable air cleaners.
Resources on Current Air Quality
For more information about current air quality from trusted government sources, residents are encouraged to check the following:
Stay up to date about Coquitlam Clean Air Spaces through the following ways:
Manager Corporate Communications