Wildfire Smoke and Haze: What to Keep in Mind

Update: As of June 9, 2023, Environment Canada has lifted the air quality advisory.

Yesterday, Toronto Public Health released a Special Air Quality Statement for the City of Toronto due to wildfires. With the forecast predicting that the air quality may worsen in the coming days, it is important to keep in mind the following:

Babies, young children, the elderly, people who work outdoors & people with chronic health conditions (e.g. lung or heart) are more vulnerable to the effects of smoke.

Monitor for symptoms (including irritated eyes, increased mucous, coughing, difficulty breathing).
Drinking lots of water can also help your body cope with the smoke.

Contact your health care provider if you develop severe symptoms or need advice. Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
For TTY, dial 9-1-1 and press the spacebar repeatedly until a response is received.

For general inquiries, you can contact Toronto Public Health at
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: publichealth@toronto.ca

Reduce your exposure by limiting time outside as much as possible.
If available, set your HVAC to recirculate air or use a portable HEPA air cleaner. Keep windows closed if the temperature is ok. If you don’t have a/c, visit a community location to find clean, cool air.
Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) before going outdoors, and if you can, reschedule outdoor activities for a time when conditions are better: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index.html

The City continues to offer a number of services to help individuals experiencing homelessness. This includes approximately 9,000 shelter spaces and a network of drop-in programs located across the city. More information can be found at www.toronto.ca/homelesshelp.

If staying indoors is not an option, the City maintains a map of spaces such as libraries, community and civic centres, that are available for situations like this. Visit the online map to find locations near you: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/hot-weather/cool-spaces-near-you/

Take care of your Mental Health. It’s not unusual to feel anxious or stressed during a smoke event. You can access free, local mental health supports at https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/mental-health-resources/

Be sure to check in on loved ones or neighbours who may be more vulnerable to wildfire smoke.

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