According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) air pollution concentrations can reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in populated valley areas in southwestern New Hampshire, especially in Keene. When this happens, sensitive individuals include children, older adults, and anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis should take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged exertion. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged activities.
Fortunately, there is a way to know when these periods can occur.
“Air Quality Action Days” are days when dangerous levels of pollutants are expected in the atmosphere. Individuals can receive Air Quality Action Day alerts by signing up for Enviroflash, a free e-mail alert system that delivers important air quality information to your inbox based on the Air Quality Index, an index for reporting daily air quality.
Sign up to receive Air Quality Action Day alerts via email at enviroflash.info.
You may also view a daily report on air quality in our area by visiting swrpc.org/airquality.
Simple steps for improving air quality when burning wood.
Research has suggested that high levels of fine particle pollution are often linked to residential wood burning. The good news is that there are simple steps one can take to protect our air quality and our community’s health. If you heat your home with wood, you can also save money and protect your home by practicing these three steps:
- Burn the right wood: Burn only dry hardwood seasoned 6 months or more.
- Use the right stove: Use an EPA certified stove for greatest efficiency (in general, those manufactured since 1990). No matter what stove you use, have your stove and chimney maintained by a technician at least annually.
- Burn the right way: Maintain a hot, bright fire and do not let the fire smolder.