In collaboration with Environment Canada, the BC Ministry of Environment and Metro Vancouver (in the Greater Vancouver area) operate air quality monitors that detect the presence of harmful substances in the air. The Ministry of Environment, and the Environmental Health Services at BCCDC assess risks to health arising from air pollution and, with the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), advise the public of ongoing and immediate situations where poor air quality threatens health.
Wildfires are predicted to become more frequent and severe as the global climate changes. During wildfires, public health practitioners and emergency managers are faced with the daunting task of protecting the public from the threat of smoke- and fire-related illness, but there are currently no evidence-based guidelines for public health action during wildfire smoke events.
Guidance for BC Public Health Decision Making During Wildfire Smoke Events
An international working group was struck to develop consensus guidelines for public health decision-making during wildfire smoke events. The working group brings together experts tasked with assessing the evidence related to wildfire smoke and public health, and to develop evidence-based consensus guidelines for public health decision-making during wildfire smoke events.
The group identified nine key topic areas to be addressed by evidence reviews. The following evidence reviews have been completed to date:
BCCDC hosted a webinar on June 5, 2014 to provide an update on the guidelines project as well as an overview of the British Columbia Asthma Medication Surveillance (BCAMS). The presentation slides (converted to PDF) are available for your reference.