What is a Clean Air Space?
Clean Air Spaces are publicly accessible indoor spaces with upgrades to air handling systems that provide improved interior air quality, and offer short-term relief during times of increased air quality risk.
During BC’s wildfire season, air quality conditions can change quickly and exposure to smoke may affect your health.
There are a number of tools available to keep you informed. Consider signing up for alerts to ensure you are aware of air quality advisories for our area.
Join the Metro Vancouver Air Quality and Climate Change Mailing List to sign up for air quality notifications for our area.
Those more vulnerable to wildfire smoke and poor air quality include those with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular health conditions, as well as people who are pregnant, infants, young children, older adults, and socially marginalized people.
People who should take extra care are advised to work with a health care professional to create a care management plan for smoky periods.
All Coquitlam residents are encouraged to prepare their home and family by learning more and creating a cleaner air space at home to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. Possible measures are outlined in the online materials listed in the Resources section below.
Staying Healthy During Smoky Conditions
The best way to protect against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke is to reduce exposure and seek cleaner air spaces.
When the Air Quality Health Index reading rises, consider the following actions:
- Closely monitoring people in your household who may be more sensitive to wildfire smoke, including those with chronic conditions (such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes), pregnant people, children and older adults.
- Where possible, reduce smoke exposure by staying indoors, and stop or reduce outdoor physical activities.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
- Keep windows and doors closed at home.
- Avoid activities that create more indoor and outdoor air pollution, such as frying foods, sweeping and vacuuming, and using gas-powered appliances.
- If travelling in a vehicle with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
- If you have asthma or other respiratory or cardiovascular health condition, carry rescue (fast-acting) medications with you at all times and activate your personal care management plan.
- Wear a well-fitted respirator or three-layer cloth or disposable mask when outdoors.
- Seek respite in public facilities like shopping malls, community centres, swimming pools or libraries.
Coquitlam's Air Quality Response Planning
Wildfires are predicted to become more frequent and severe as the global climate changes. In 2019, in anticipation of the ongoing impacts of wildfires on local air quality, the City identified the need to establish cleaner air spaces in a number of civic facilities.
Subsequent work has included adding charcoal filters to augment existing filtration, updating mechanical systems to provide the option of recirculating interior air, and installing air curtains to help better seal facility entrances. These efforts were endorsed as one of the key actions identified in the City of Coquitlam Climate Adaptation Strategic Plan (PDF), adopted in October 2020.
During periods of increased air quality risk, City staff closely monitor reports from trusted government sources and work with applicable health agencies to support public health measures, including the activation of community Clean Air Spaces. Public notification of these measures is communicated via the City website, CoquitlamConnect mobile app, Notify Me news alerts and social media notification.