Wildfire Smoke Text Alert System for Farmworkers

Press Release

FAQ

Useful Links

 

 

versión en español
 

 

Press Release

 

FAQ

 

 

 

What is this program?

 

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, in partnership with the County of Ventura’s County Executive Office, Agricultural Commissioner, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a non-profit organization, have developed a first-of-its-kind text alert system for farmworkers to alert the farmworker community when air quality reaches unhealthy levels in areas of Ventura County due to wildfire smoke. The text alert system will release air quality notifications to farmworkers and recommendations for N95 mask usage in real-time as the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 151 (unhealthy) and exceeds 500 (hazardous) due to wildfire smoke, consistent with the Cal OSHA regulations.

 

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/doshreg/Protection-from-Wildfire-Smoke/Wildfire-smoke-emergency-standard.html
 

 

What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

 

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) index for reporting air quality.

 

 

 

Who is this for?

 

This text alert system is designed for agricultural frontline workers as well as field supervisors in Ventura County.

 

 

What are the health risks of wildfire smoke for outdoor workers?

 

Please refer to the EPA for wildfire smoke health risks

https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/how-smoke-fires-can-affect-your-health

 

How do I sign up?

 

For English text alerts, text SMOKE to 855-522-0034. You will know you are signed up correctly if you receive this message.

 

 

For Spanish text alerts, text HUMO to 855-522-0034. You will know you are signed up correctly if you receive this message

 

 

If you would like both English and Spanish alerts, please text SMOKE and HUMO as two separate texts to 855-522-0034.

 

 

Does this cost anything?

 

This text alert system is being provided at no cost to the subscriber. However, phone provider standard messaging fees may apply. Please check with your phone provider.

When will I receive messages?

 

You will receive a message anytime the AQI is 151 or greater (unhealthy conditions) and another message when the AQI exceeds 500 (hazardous conditions) due to wildfire smoke.

 

You may receive multiple messages in one day. Examples include:

 

  • If AQI reaches 151 and later exceeds 500 in the same day due to wildfire smoke
  • If the wind shifts and wildfire smoke moves into more cities
  • If a new wildfire starts in a different city in the same day

 

 

Why will messages be sent when the AQI is greater than or equal to 151 and again when the AQI exceeds 500 due to wildfire smoke?

 

This text alert system is designed to follow Cal OSHA’s regulation in the California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 5141.1, which establishes AQI of 151 and 501 as the trigger points for when employers are required to provide N95 masks for voluntary and mandatory use, respectably. https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5141_1.html

 

 

What will the messages look like?

 

When AQI reaches 151 due to wildfire smoke, you will receive this message:
 

English

 

 

Spanish

 

 

 

When AQI exceeds 500 due to wildfire smoke, you will receive this message:
 

English

 

 

Spanish

 

 

 

What are the city abbreviations?

 

City names will be abbreviated due to limited amount of text characters. City abbreviations are as follows (in alphabetical order):

 

  • CAM: Camarillo
  • FILL: Fillmore
  • MRPK: Moorpark
  • NP: Newbury Park
  • OJ: Ojai
  • OX: Oxnard
  • SP: Santa Paula
  • SV: Simi Valley
  • TO: Thousand Oaks
  • VTA: Ventura

 

 

Will I receive a message when the AQI is no longer 151 or greater as well as when it is no longer 501 or greater due to wildfire smoke?

 

No. This system is designed to alert you when air quality deteriorates due to wildfire smoke and the AQI values specified in the Cal OSHA regulation are exceeded in each day. If conditions persist the following day, you will receive another message.

 

It is your responsibility to determine when it is appropriate to no longer wear an N95 mask. We recommend checking http://www.airnow.gov for up-to-date air quality in your area.

 

 

What is AirNow?

 

AirNow is an EPA program that is designed to provide current air quality data as well as forecasted air quality data. You can use AirNow through a web browser (www.airnow.gov) or through their mobile app via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

 

 

For more information regarding AirNow, please refer to: https://www.airnow.gov/how-to-use-this-site/

 

 

What if I see/smell smoke and do not get a text or do not see/smell smoke but do receive a text?

 

Once the AQI reaches 151 anywhere in Ventura County due to wildfire smoke, you will receive a text message. The text message will specify what cities are affected. Please verify if one of the affected cities is your location.

 

In addition, you should use common sense. Often you will see or smell wildfire smoke before the AQI reaches 151. Although the regulation only requires employers to provide N95 masks at an AQI of 151, it can be a good idea to wear one at lower levels to reduce your exposure, especially if you have medical conditions such as asthma or heart problems, etc.

 

 

How do I unsubscribe from the text alert system?

 

To unsubscribe, text STOP to 855-522-0034.

 

 

If in the future you decide to re-subscribe to the text alert system, make sure to text UNSTOP to 855-522-0034. If you do not do this step, your phone will continue to block messages from the number.

 

 

This is the same process for both the English and Spanish text options. These are automated messages that we cannot change or translate into Spanish.

 

 

What about the Mixteco and Indigenous Farmworkers?

 

Partnerships with non-profit organizations and the County of Ventura Farmworker Resource Program have been created to assist the indigenous farm working community. Please visit the Facebook Groups below for information on how you can be alerted and informed during a wildfire.

 

 

 

Who do I contact for questions that were not answered in the above?

 

If you still have questions, please contact VCAPCD at (805) 303-3889 or email info@vcapcd.org.
 

 

Useful Links