Washington Unified is excited to continue its participation in the Healthy Air Living Program, a program of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.  The Central Valley is subject to poor air quality because of a combination of geography, climate, and vehicle emissions.  According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s website, air quality has been steadily improving for the past 15 years for Valley residents, thanks in part, to programs like Healthy Air Living.

As part of the Healthy Air Living Program, school staff can receive regular email and text message alerts about air quality on any given day from the Real Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) tool.  Based on 5 levels of air quality, RAAN’s goal is to let people know the level of risk for outdoor activity based on current air quality levels.  Because air quality can change frequently throughout the day, RAAN monitors levels on an hourly basis and send alerts to users.  Once school staff receive these alerts, they can make decisions about whether or not to allow students to participate in activity outdoors.

While the RAAN tool was originally created for schools, it is now free for anyone to use.  As stated on the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s website, RAAN offers users:

  • Online, 24/7 access to the most up-to-date hourly air quality information for your area;
  • Automated email or text messages whenever air quality is poor in your area;
  • Specific health recommendations for outdoor exercise based on five different air quality levels.

Users can sign up for free at http://www.valleyair.org/Programs/RAAN/raan_register.htm

Another feature of the the Healthy Air Living Program is community education.  You may have seen signs in the pick up and drop off zones of your child’s school requesting that all car engines be turned off while waiting for students.  This is part of the program’s efforts to educate parents and community members about the reducing vehicle emissions as it can affect health conditions such as asthma.  Because students congregate in these zones, it is important that cars are turned off to prevent kids from unnecessarily being exposed to car exhaust.  

For more information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District or the Healthy Air Living Program, visit their website at: www.valleyair.org.

This article was originally published in 2018.