Technology helping Valley residents with air quality

August 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Input CalloutExtreme temperatures have raised concern once again about air quality in the Valley.

The rising temperatures are increasing the unhealthy air quality levels, but now there's a new tool that gives you the air quality readings right at your fingertips.

The triple digit temperatures had many in the Tower District seeking relief from the blazing sun under some shade Monday afternoon, but there's no relief from the unhealthy air quality that comes with this intense heat.

"When you have a lot of heat when we've had lately, and you have stagnant conditions so you don't have anyway of moving it around. These emissions just accumulate," Janelle Schneider of the Air Pollution Control District said.

At noon the air quality in Fresno measured in at level 3 - unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Officials with the air pollution control district have developed a user-friendly tool that keeps people informed on the latest level. The device allows people to get updates on the air pollution in their area, either through email or text message.

"That will send data feeds from the monitoring station of their choice, directly to their iPhone or computer," Schneider said.

The real-time air advisory network, or RAAN, sends updates automatically every hour as air quality changes.

"It's the first of it's kind, in the nation and it was developed with our scientist here and also health professionals," Schneider said.

The technology was designed three years ago, specifically for schools.

School districts like Central Unified use the information to monitor the air quality and make sure students aren't outdoors and exercising at unhealthy levels.

"This allows school staff, especially when you're talking about sports practices in recess and stuff like that, to really know what the air quality is doing right now in their neighborhood," Schneider said.

It's just one tool schools are using to keep their keeps safe.

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