Air Quality


Source: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

  • For daily Air Quality Index forecasts:

 On Code Red Days

  • People
    • Children, the elderly and individuals with heart or respiratory ailments, emphysema, asthma or chronic bronchitis should reduce outdoor activities.
    • Healthy individuals should limit strenuous outdoor work or exercise and should limit their outdoor activities.
  • Transportation
    • Limit driving and when possible, combine trips, telework, carpool or use mass transit, including Fairfax Connector..
    • Refuel vehicles after dusk and limit idling. Exhaust contains particle pollution that makes air quality worse on hot days. Also, Fairfax County code prohibits the idling of engines of mobile sources for more than three minutes after it has ceased to perform its designated work or function.
  • Conservation
    • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
    • Keep air conditioning no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Around the House
    • Avoid mowing lawns with gasoline-powered motors.
    • Don't use chemicals on your lawn and gardens.
    • Put off painting until air quality improves.

      Air Quality Index Codes 

        Good -- Green

      Enjoy outdoor activities ...

      • Carpool, use public transit, bike or walk
      • Keep engines tuned
      • Use environmentally friendly products
        Moderate -- Yellow

      Some pollution in the air ...

      • Limit driving, consolidate trips
      • Reduce car idling
      • Conserve electricity, set A/C to 78 degrees
        Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups -- Orange

      Children and adults with respiratory and heart sensitivity should limit outdoor activity ...

      • Refuel after dusk, use fuel-efficient vehicles
      • Avoid driving, use transit, telework
      • Avoid using aerosol products
        Unhealthy -- Red

      Unhealthy for everyone ...

      • Avoid lawn mowing or use electric mowers
      • Put off painting until air quality improves
      • Limit strenuous outdoor activities
        Very Unhealthy -- Purple

      Very unhealthy for everyone ...

      • Avoid outdoor physical activities, especially sensitive groups


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