Earlier this month, Valley Air District launched the new Clean Air Centers Pilot program. The Clean Air Centers Pilot Program was established by AB 836 (Wicks, Chapter 393, Statutes of 2019) and provides the Valley Air District $750,000 in funding for grants to provide portable air cleaners in support of creating a network of clean air centers to provide vulnerable populations a respite from wildfires and other smoke events.
The guidelines established by the California Air Resources Board provide the San Joaquin Valley with resources to assist in creating clean air centers at schools, community centers, senior centers, sport centers, libraries and other publically accessible buildings that would most effectively protect vulnerable populations during wildfire smoke events.
For more information on this and other Valley Air District grant programs, visit www.valleyair.org/grants or call 559-230-5800.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern.
In addition to implementing and enforcing air quality regulations and providing clean air grants, the Valley Air District places a high priority in providing accurate and timely health protective information to the public. The Valley Air District and other public health agencies throughout the Valley recommend that residents take health-protective actions to stay safe when smoke from catastrophic wildfires affects the Valley. Some of these actions include staying indoors, the use of portable air cleaners or high efficiency filters to remove fine particles from the air, planning ahead and creating a “clean room”, and if unable to use fans and air conditioning in your home, to seek a more protective location during the air quality episode.
“The Clean Air Centers Pilot Program will serve as the next key component in protecting Valley residents in the most vulnerable communities,” stated Samir Sheikh, Valley Air District Air Pollution Control Officer. “This program will help to create a network of accessible facilities to find respite from the damaging effects of smoke events for communities that are the most vulnerable and face the greatest challenges in protecting themselves during wildfire events.”