ACT Health uses a system of seven health advisory categories for smoky air. The categories are based on the 24-hour rolling average concentrations of PM2.5 in the air. Each category has cautionary health advice that suggests practical ways you can reduce your exposure to smoke.

In a sudden onset weather or smoke event (for example, a dust storm or significant landscape fire), it is possible that visibility is reduced before there is an increase in the health advisory category based on the 24-hour rolling average concentrations of PM2.5.

In this scenario, ACT Health will undertake an assessment and publish a public health alert, if required.

Current health advisories for the ACT

Smoky air (PM2.5) health advisory categories

Air quality categories PM2.5 (24 hour) µg/m3 Potential health effects without following advice or actions Cautionary health advice/actions**
Good 0-8.9 N/A – Below the relevant air quality standard     None
Meets air quality standard 9-25.9 N/A – Meets the relevant air quality standard No tailored advice necessary

Unhealthy for sensitive groups
 

26-39.9

Symptoms may occur in sensitive groups

Sensitive groups# should reduce prolonged or heavy physical activity. Where possible, these people in the community should also limit the time spent outdoors

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan. Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention

Unhealthy for all
 

40-106.9

Increased likelihood of effects for sensitive groups

Symptoms may occur in the general population

Everyone should reduce prolonged or heavy physical activity

Sensitive groups# should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity altogether

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan. Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention

Very unhealthy for all


 

107-177.9

Significant likelihood of effects for sensitive groups

Symptoms among general population common

Everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity

Sensitive groups# should avoid all physical activity outdoors

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan. Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention

Hazardous high
 

>177.9

Serious likelihood of effects for sensitive groups

Symptoms among general population very common

Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors 

Sensitive groups# should temporarily relocate to a friend or relative living outside the affected area. If this is not possible, remain indoors and keep activity levels as low as possible

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan. Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention

Anyone experiencing symptoms which may be due to smoke exposure should consider taking a break away from the smoky conditions

Hazardous extreme  > 250

Serious likelihood of effects for sensitive groups

Symptoms among general population very common

Cautionary health advice and actions are the same as for Hazardous high above
#People over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions.
Page last updated on: 3 Sep 2019