The Bay Area Air Quality and Management District (Air District) is partnering with Regional Asthma Management and Prevention program, or RAMP, a project of the Public Health Institute, to provide portable air filtration units to low-income residents diagnosed with poorly-controlled asthma who are enrolled in the state’s Asthma Mitigation Project to receive in-home asthma care services.
Wildfire smoke is unhealthy to breathe and can be especially dangerous for thousands of Bay Area asthma residents, especially in low-income communities of color. For example, the Havenscourt neighborhood of East Oakland has some of the highest hospital admissions and ER visits for asthma in the city; African Americans are almost twice as likely to visit the ER than residents of Havenscourt as a whole.
But the cost of a quality home air filter can be prohibitive for many asthma patients. This wildfire season, the Air District is partnering with RAMP to provide portable air filtration units to low-income Bay Area residents.
Through the partnership with RAMP, the Air District will provide some 2,000 individuals living in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties with portable indoor home air filtration units.
“Wildfires are increasing in the region and residents with asthma are some of the most vulnerable to the related smoke impacts,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Our partnership with RAMP provides air filtration units to these residents and can help reduce emergency room visits when air quality becomes unhealthy.”
“Our changing climate is causing larger, more catastrophic wildfires that blanket smoke across the entire region,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez who is also chair of the Air District Board of Directors. “The Air District/RAMP partnership is one step toward protecting the health of some of our region’s most vulnerable residents and offers a unique opportunity to directly reach individuals suffering from poorly-controlled asthma.”
The Sierra Health Foundation’s Center for Health Program Management was selected to administer the project. Air filtration units will be distributed through seven Bay Area nonprofit organizations, community-based health care providers, health departments and managed care organizations that were awarded funds through the California Asthma Mitigation Project, a statewide project to provide in-home asthma care services.
The program provides culturally and linguistically appropriate asthma home visits, education and environmental remediation. By partnering with this on-going effort, the Air District aims to ensure that this vulnerable population not only has access to these air filtration units – a critical tool for mitigating wildfire smoke impacts – but is also provided guidance about how to optimally place, use and maintain the units through this and future wildfire seasons.
Wildfire smoke can have immediate health impacts and trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema, COPD or other respiratory conditions. Residents can find relief from wildfire smoke by setting up a cleaner air room in their home using a portable air filtration unit.
During wildfires, air pollution has real and significant health consequences, even for those without pre-existing conditions. Wildfire preparedness tips, school air quality recommendations, information on air quality data and more is available at www.baaqmd.gov/wildfiresafety.
More information about the Home Air Filtration Program is available at: https://www.baaqmd.gov/~/media/files/communications-and-outreach/publications/fact-sheets/asthma-mitigation-FAQ_final_080521r_web%20pdf.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. Connect with the Air District via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.