News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.
Local

The air quality is bad out there...here's how to protect yourself




Thick smoke from the Creek Fire reduced visibility and made it difficult to breathe in downtown Sylmar on Dec. 5, 2017.
Thick smoke from the Creek Fire reduced visibility and made it difficult to breathe in downtown Sylmar on Dec. 5, 2017.
Andrew Cullen for KPCC

Listen to story

05:43
Download this story 5.0MB

As fires continue to burn in Ventura, Sylmar, Santa Clarita and L.A., the Santa Ana winds show no signs of letting up.

Even if you're not in the immediate vicinity of the fires, smoke particles in the air will be affecting all of us in Southern California in the coming days.

Sam Atwood is a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. He joined Take Two to talk about how the wildfires are affecting local air quality.

It's bad out there

Atwood explained that when there's smoke in the air, there are particulates that are especially harmful to the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.

Wearing masks is helpful, but not all masks are created equal. A Martinez tried out a few and found the most effective one.

Three tips for staying safe

And if you don't have air conditioning, rest assured, there are other options.

"You can at least stay indoors and close the windows and doors," he says.

He cautions, though, "Something like a swamp cooler would not be advisable because it would be drawing outdoor air into your dwelling. And if you don't really have a way to protect yourself, then it's probably good to think about moving temporarily to somewhere else – a shelter or neighbor's or friend's" 

You can keep yourself informed on the air quality in your area by clicking here, for AQMD's interactive air advisory map.

To hear the full segment on how to protect yourself when air quality is poor, click the blue play button above.