Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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Public Health Division
Public Health Division

Air Quality in Berkeley


Air quality in Berkeley can be impacted by smoke from wildfires elsewhere.

Check the airnow.gov interactive map to find current air quality conditions in Berkeley and follow the tips on this page to protect your health when air quality is poor.

In all cases, make sure we can reach you in an emergency. Sign up for AC Alert.

Protect your health when air quality is poor

When air is unhealthy, the best option is to reduce physical activity and stay indoors with doors and windows closed.

Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Smoke can irritate your eyes and airways, cause cough, a dry scratchy throat, runny nose, trouble breathing, and irritate your sinuses.

When inside

Avoid behaviors that make air quality in your home worse:

  • Set air conditioning units to re-circulate so you don't bring outside air in.
  • Don't smoke, burn candles, or use incense.
  • Don't use gas, propane, or wood burning stoves. Avoid frying or broiling meat.
  • Avoid vacuuming.

Take precautions when outdoors

Minimize time outside as much as possible.

When you must go outside, don't rely on dust masks or bandanas for protection. They do nothing to protect against smoke particles.

N-95s are not for everyone

There is no clear evidence that respirator use by the general public is beneficial. N-95 respirators may not protect you and may be dangerous for certain people. N-95 respirators are not meant for everyone:

  • Talk to your doctor first if you have a health condition.
    N-95 respirators may be dangerous for people with lung or heart conditions.
  • Children should not wear N-95 respirators.
    N-95 respirators are not certified for children; they do not fit properly and can impede breathing.
  • If you choose to wear an N-95 respirator, make sure it is fitted properly
    Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Wearing an ill-fitted respirator can lead to a false sense of security.

Checking air quality conditions

The best source for up-to-date air quality information is the airnow.gov interactive map, which is updated hourly with readings from the Berkeley air monitor in Aquatic Park.

Searching "Berkeley" on the airnow.gov homepage returns air quality information for the greater Oakland reporting area, which does not always reflect local conditions here in Berkeley.

Use the Air District air quality index tracker to see how conditions have changed over time. This page provides a record of the hourly readings from air monitors around the Bay Area, including Aquatic Park.

Air Quality ratings

The Air Quality Index (AQI) provides guidance on who should take precautions when.

AQI Range Health Impact What to do
Air quality poses little or no risk. It's a great day to be active outside.
Air quality may pose a moderate health concern for very small numbers of people, such as those who are unusually sensitive to particle pollution. Unusually sensitive people: Consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. These are signs to take it easier.

Everyone else: It's a good day to be active outside.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Air quality may pose risks to people with heart and lung disease, older adults, children, and pregnant individuals. Sensitive groups: Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. It's OK to be active outside, but take more breaks and do less intense activities. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

People with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and keep quick relief medicine handy.

If you have heart disease: Symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. If you have any of these, contact your health care provider.
Everyone may begin to experience adverse health effects. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Sensitive groups: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when the air quality is better.

Everyone else: Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. Take more breaks during all outdoor activities.
Very Unhealthy
Everyone may experience more serious health effects. Sensitive groups: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when air quality is better.

Everyone else: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Consider moving activites indoors or rescheduling to a time when air quality is better.
Entire population is likely to be affected. Everyone: Avoid all physical activity outdoors.

Sensitive groups: Remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

Preparing before a bad air event

The most important thing you can do to prepare is to sign up for emergency notifications at acalert.org. This will ensure we can reach you in an emergency.

Steps for everyone

Other steps you can take to prepare for poor air quality:

  • Know where to go.
    Make a list of places you can go with clean, filtered air.
  • Weatherize your home.
    Replace leaky windows and doors. Use caulking to seal the openings.
  • Gather supplies
    Gather supplies you need to stay in your home while air quality is poor. See the CDC's website on personal health preparedness.
  • Get an air purifier for your home.
    If you have an HVAC system, get a MERV 13 or greater filter. Otherwise, get a HEPA air purifier. The California Air Resources Board has information about selecting an air cleaning device.
  • Create a family emergency plan.
    Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. See FEMA's family emergency plan checklist.

Individuals with health conditions

If you have a health condition or belong to a group at high risk when air quality is poor, talk to your doctor in advance to create a personal plan for dealing with smoke.

The groups at greatest risk from wildfire smoke are:

  • People who have heart or lung disease
  • Older adults
  • Children
  • Pregnant individuals
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