SACRAMENTO -Today the Air Resources Board’s Office of Emergency Response showcased the agency’s ability to assist California’s emergency and public health officials confronting air quality emergencies.
ARB has on-call a mobile emergency air monitoring team dedicated to reducing public health threats from air quality emergencies. These air quality experts are trained to use advanced modeling tools and specialized mobile air monitors to quickly and accurately assess toxic threats caused by explosions and fires.
“ARB’s chemists, meteorologists and engineers stand ready on a moment’s notice to provide minute-by-minute air quality monitoring to help local officials develop tactical emergency responses, and protect public health,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols.
In the past ARB’s emergency response team has been used during gas pipeline explosions as well wildfire assessments. It is expected to be used more frequently in the future. A recent study released by the California Energy Commission finds that, due to climate change, the state can expect extreme weather that will contribute to more severe fire seasons. Knowledge of what is in the plume of smoke and which direction the wind is carrying it can make evacuation and shelter decisions more targeted and effective.
ARB’s emergency response team will also serve those responding to industrial accidents and fires. The team, in coordination with California’s emergency management structure, will assist by capturing air samples, determining their contents, recommending protective measures, and accounting for wind direction to identify evacuation areas.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.