Madison Response and Community Support for Air Quality Emergency
As smoke from wildfires continues to impact air quality in Madison, the City has taken a number of steps to help people protect residents’ health and get access to indoor relief from outside air.
We encourage everybody to take the air quality advisory seriously, and stay indoors as much as possible until the health impacts have decreased. We are taking precautions by limiting outdoor work and activities, and are making masks available at our libraries for the public.
Here are some simple steps to keep yourself and your family safe:
1. Monitor air quality. Air Quality index above 100 means the air is unhealthy. There’s a number of ways you can check on current air quality conditions:
- Check current air quality conditions on the WI DNR statewide air monitoring network or on the EPA’s AirNow.gov site.
- Download the free WisconsinAQM mobile app to receive air quality updates anywhere on a mobile device. Download in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
- Sign up to receive air quality advisory notices by email or text.
2. Stay inside as much as possible, and take steps to keep your indoor air clean.
- Keep windows closed.
- Avoid frying food or burning candles.
- Run air conditioning on recirculate if possible.
- Use an air purifier.
3. If you have to go outside, take precautions.
- Wear a tightfitting mask like an N95 or KN95. A full list of Madison mask distribution locations is posted here.
- Don’t engage in strenuous activity.
- Change your clothes when you get home.
4. Monitor your health.
- If you have a respiratory condition, like asthma, watch out for difficulty breathing or intense coughing.
- Follow your doctor's directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
- Know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. If you feel symptoms, even if they go away, stop your activity and seek medical help immediately!
In response to the current air quality advisory, the City has taken the following steps:
- All City employees are being encouraged to work indoors and agencies have adjusted work plans to make that possible; for those whose outdoor work cannot be paused, masks have been provided and additional precautions are being taken.
- All planned outdoor City events for Wednesday have been canceled.
- All City shelters are following "extreme weather” procedures to allow for increased occupancy at shelters. KN-95 masks were also handed out to shelters last night and day shelters this morning.
- KN-95 masks are being distributed at Madison libraries starting this morning. The City is working with the County to expand mask locations to include the rest of the county. The public can also access masks at Public Health Madison Dane County’s East Washington and South Madison offices. A full list of mask distribution locations is posted here.
- Clean Air Respite Centers: Public Health Madison & Dane County is collaborating the faith community to establish up to eight clean air respite centers at faith-based facilities throughout Dane County today. We hope to have more details by the end of the day. City libraries are also welcoming members of the public, as they do every day, who seeking relief from the outdoors are.
More information is available through Public Health Madison and Dane County.
The City will continue to provide regular updates and to take additional steps as the current situation evolves, and will continue to work to refine our planning and expand our capacity to respond to future air quality emergencies.