Thursday Labeled "Code Orange" Air Quality Action Day in Delawar - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Thursday Labeled "Code Orange" Air Quality Action Day in Delaware

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - The entire state of Delaware is under a "Air Quality Action Day" due to the potential for higher than normal ozone.

David Fees, a managing engineer with DNREC's Air Quality Division, says weather conditions contribute to hazy days like today that could be unhealthy.

"On warm, hot, sunny days in the summer you get pollutants emitted by cars and power plants and lots of sources," he says. "Those pollutants will cook in the air and form what's called ground level ozone [...] also known as smog."

Fees says this particular ozone causes irritation to people's lungs and could cause shortness of breath, so DNREC labels day like today as "Code Orange," so parts of the population that could be negatively impacted by this air quality are aware. Fees says children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory illnesses are most at risk.

Ken Bock, CEO of senior services center CHEER, says they take these "Air Quality Action Days" very seriously.

"When we have these hazardous air quality alerts, it's a real big concern for us because so many of our population does have respiratory problems," he tells WBOC. "We have a whole series of protocols and procedures that go in place automatically when we're in this kind of weather situation." 

Among them, Bock says are canceling outdoor activities and making sure all buses are equipped with water, so people can stay hydrated. Bock says it's important for everyone to be on the lookout for seniors in distress on Code Orange days.

"Things that are an inconvenience or uncomfortable for you and I to deal with, they could be life threatening for some of our seniors," he says. "So it's critically, critically important that we all are alert to the needs of the senior population during the extreme periods." 

DNREC says Thursday's "Code Orange" is the fourth this summer and the ozone is expected to be worst in the late afternoon/early evening. Fees recommends that those with respiratory issues avoid exercising outside on "Code Orange" days.

To check DNREC's Air Quality in real time, click here.

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