Air Quality Flag Program

The Air Quality Flag Program is a great way to teach people about local outdoor air quality conditions, how air pollution impacts health, actions we can take to protect ourselves and ways to reduce polluting activities. Available to schools, community health centers, fire departments, parks and recreation centers, environmental education centers, and after-school/early-childcare facilities in Maricopa, Pinal, Yuma and Santa Cruz counties, the program uses different colored flags to notify the public of air quality conditions based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI).

What Do The Flag Colors Mean?

Flags are posted at participating schools and/or community organizations in areas visible to the public. The flags match AQI’s warning level colors, indicating the amount of pollution in the air and any possible associated health effects experienced within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. ADEQ and some local districts calculate the AQI for four major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, PM10, PM2.5 and carbon monoxide. For each of these pollutants, the EPA has established National Air Quality Standards to protect public health. If a warning is issued, the flag’s purpose is to protect the greater at-risk population.

GreenAir quality is good.

YellowAir quality is acceptable, but there might be health concerns for some of the population.

OrangeAir quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including people with lung or cardiac disease, children, outdoor athletes and older adults.

RedAir quality is unhealthy. Everybody may begin to feel some health effects. Outdoor activity should be limited for all children, and sensitive individuals should stay indoors.

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