PDPH: Code Red for Unhealthy Air Declared in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health released the following health notification on June 28:

The City is forecasting poor air quality this afternoon due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires. There may be times when Philadelphia’s air quality goes into the Code Red zone (AQI over 150). We expect that period of time to be short but will be monitoring the situation and putting out updates as needed.

The City is currently under a Code Red Fine Particles Action Day Alert. This means that the air has an unhealthy number of fine particles, or PM 2.5, in it. PM 2.5 can be bad because the tiny particles floating on the air can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, where they can cause damage.

At high levels, everyone can be affected. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects, such as people with lung and heart conditions, people who are pregnant, the elderly, and the very young. Air quality may vary throughout the City and throughout the day, with some areas having significantly worse quality depending on the prevailing winds.

Please share this information with your community, neighbors, and loved ones to make sure they understand how to protect themselves.
Residents should:

  • Consider cancelling outdoor events and gatherings.
  • Avoid going outdoors as much as possible.
  • Avoid excessive activity outdoors, such as jogging or running.
  • If you must go outdoors, wear a high-quality mask, like an N-95 or KN-95.
    • Residents who need masks to safely be outside can receive them for free from the City at Philadelphia Police Districts, Philadelphia Fire Stations, and Health Department Resource Hubs:
Resource Hub Address Hours
Bethany Baptist Church 5747 Warrington Ave, 19143 Monday – Friday, 9a – 4p
Mi Salud Wellness Center 200 E. Wyoming Ave, 19120 Monday – Thursday, 9a – 4p;
Friday, 8:30a – 3:30p
Whitman Plaza 330 W. Oregon Ave, 19148 Monday – Friday, 10a – 5p
Shoppes at LaSalle 5301 Chew Ave, 19138 Monday – Friday, 10a – 5p

Note: Residents can receive two masks per person and can pick up supplies for individuals who cannot make it themselves. Masks are adult-sized only.

  • Close all windows and doors to minimize air pollution in your home.
  • Recirculate air with fans to avoid bringing more air pollution into your home.
  • Avoid areas of high congestion and where air pollution may be high (e.g., main streets or highways, areas with low circulation).
  • People with underlying illnesses should monitor for symptoms, including trouble breathing, nausea, and dizziness. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Residents are asked to also help reduce the amount of pollution in the City by:

  • Avoiding unnecessary trips in their cars and idling,
  • Carpooling when possible, and
  • Avoiding use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

Residents should keep an eye on the situation and adjust their plans as needed.

  • To see the current air quality in your area, visit www.phila.gov/aqi.
  • Follow the Health Department and OEM on social media.
  • Trust your body. If you’re having difficulty breathing, head inside.

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