An Orange level Air Quality Alert for ozone has been issued for Middle Tennessee for Tuesday.
This is the first Air Quality Alert for the area this year. Ozone season officially began back in April.
It’s unusual for the first alert for ozone not to be issued until August.
The Air Quality Alert means that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is forecasting Tuesday’s ozone levels to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those with lung disease such as asthma, children or older adults.
Officials said people who suffer from respiratory problems would be the ones mostly affected by the alert.
“They are at a higher risk for needing medical attention,” explained Danielle Brown with the the American Lung Association. “They may experience some wheezing, some coughing [or] maybe even an asthma attack.”
People who are active outdoors should limit prolonged exertion outdoors on Tuesday.
To help lessen the effects of Tuesday’s ozone levels, the Clean Air Partnership of Middle Tennessee encouraged citizens to incorporate smarter driving habits into their daily routines.
The Clean Air Partnership is urging citizens to consider taking the following steps on Air Quality Alert days:
– Carpool or take the train or bus at least once a week and on air alert days.
– Combine errands into a single trip, and reduce or postpone trips in your car.
– Reduce idling: Schedule your day to avoid driving during peak traffic times, and skip the drive-thru and go inside.
– Refuel your car after dusk, when it’s cooler and ozone production has tapered off.
– Postpone the use of gas-powered lawn equipment until the air quality improves.
TDOT also posted the alert on electronic billboards throughout the area, reminding drivers to reduce trips on Air Quality Alert days.