Particulate matter (PM) in the form of PM2.5 can be breathed into the lungs affecting health. PM2.5 is commonly referred to as ‘fine particles’. It is a useful air quality monitoring measure to inform recommended precautionary actions to protect public health during smoke events.
The Community Smoke Air Quality & Health Standard (or Community SAQH Standard) provides direction for the protection of community health in response to smoke events resulting in significant levels of fine particles in the outdoor environment.
The Community SAQH Standard can be applied to large area smoke impacts from bushfires or planned burns where fine particles are the primary health hazard and for single location events producing significant levels of fine particles such as fires in coal mines, tyre stockpiles, or other industrial events (i.e. large scale, extended or complex incidents where smoke or emissions generated may impact the community). For such events, there may be other unique air quality hazards of equal or greater health concern, which may also require management through the use of additional specialised standards.
The Community SAQH Standard’s focus applies to the protection of community health and therefore does not apply to occupational health and safety; for example for firefighters and other emergency service workers.
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