East Hawaii News

Air Quality in Pahoa Monitored by Temporary Devices

December 16, 2014, 2:58 PM HST
* Updated December 16, 3:00 PM
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Three temporary particulate monitors have been installed in the Pahoa area by the Hawai’i State Department of Health. These monitoring devices measure and inform nearby residents of the air quality levels from the June 27 lava flow.

Two of these monitors are located in Pahoa and another one is located in Leilani Estates. Should it be necessary, these moveable devices can be relocated. Additional monitors can also be installed as the flow nears the community or additional breakouts occur.

‘Our monitoring data and smoke model will measure and predict air quality, but this information is no substitute for good judgment. People should consider for themselves how sensitive they are to smoke exposure and act accordingly,” said Gary Gill, Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “The smoke impact at any place or time may change due to unpredictable wind and weather conditions.”

Residents in smoke affected areas are advised by the DOH to avoid outdoor activities or physical exertion.

Additionally, those who have respiratory illness or heart disease, older adults and children, are urged to avoid smoke exposure. The DOH says it is possible for smoke to worsen symptoms for individuals who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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It is advised that individuals with any of the above conditions keep their medication refilled and use daily medication as prescribed. Individuals who feel they need medication or medical attention should contact their physician.

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Since the lava flow and smoke conditions are unpredictable by nature, the DOH advises residents to be aware of additional advisories from Hawai’i County Civil Defense.

The monitoring data and advisories can be viewed through the Air Now website or through the State of Hawaii Department of Health, Clean Air Branch website.

Additionally the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology has developed a model to forcast the lava flow smoke in Puna. The model can viewed at the Vog Measurement and Prediction Project website.

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