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Air Quality Info--From Councilmember Honzak

Hi Ward One Residents,

Councilmember Honzak wrote this very thoughtful email about the public health issue we are all currently affected by, so I wanted to share it with you all.



As we have all noted, the air quality today is extremely poor and dangerous to public health, leading to cancellation of a number of outdoor activities, masks being distributed in public schools, etc. As we enter the summer months when fires will continue across Canada and hot weather can become dangerous in particular, I urge everyone to consider signing up for Takoma Park Alerts, and consider checking on/sharing info with vulnerable neighbors. More info below.

I see many people outside today, working and playing, some by necessity and some because they haven't yet read the local news, or perhaps are reading different kinds of news. Having spoken to a few local residents today who weren't fully aware of the dangerous level of the air quality, I decided to send this note. I have been on the alert system for the past year (I choose to receive text messages only but there are various options) and found it far superior to other local alert systems, in terms of providing me with a "just right" level of emergency and important information, and being hyper local.

If you aren't already aware, today and yesterday's hazy skies are due to smoke coming down from fires in Canada. Today's air quality is deemed even worse than yesterday. Local advisories are at a level known as "Code Purple" meaning that we are experiencing very unhealthy air conditions for the entire public, and not just those with respiratory illnesses. Wearing a high quality mask is advised if you must be outside, and those with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens are advised to avoid all outdoor activities, as possible.

Please consider checking on any neighbors with respiratory or other related health conditions, who are elderly, or who for any reason you think might not be fully aware of the situation. You might consider inviting a neighbor over for tea or respite if you have circulating air or air filters in your home. You can also share with them that the Long Branch Library at 8800 Garland Avenue is open today from 10 am to 8 PM, and has both free masks and filtered air.. Unfortunately the Takoma Park library is currently low on our mask stock so please do not send them there today for masks.

Among other excellent reasons to join some kind of local alert system, note that this is only the beginning of fire season in Canada.

If you want to connect a vulnerable or senior neighbor to additional or alternative check-in services, you can refer to any of the resources below (which can be found on the Village of Takoma's website):

  • Senior Call Check Program (1-866-50-CHECK) is a free, opt-in, telephonic service to check on Maryland’s older residents. The program is also currently providing messages and updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and where to find support if needed.

  • The Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) is a 24/7 toll-free, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This resource provides multilingual, and confidential crisis support.

  • Well Connected (877-797-7299) is a free program offering activities, education, support groups, and friendly conversation over the phone or online.

  • AARP Community Connections - - is a new online platform you can visit to receive support from groups that already existed or have emerged to meet the crisis created by the COVID 19 virus. The site is free; AARP membership not required.

  • Help from the Village of Takoma: Do you live alone? Would you like a Village volunteer to check in with you by phone on a regular basis? If so, and you're a member of the Village, please call the Village at 301-646-2109.

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