1. Drive less
Cars are the major source of air pollution in the Sacramento region. Before getting into your
vehicle to run an errand, or go to work, consider alternative means of transportation. Can
you get to your destination by walking, biking or public transit? If you leave your car at
home one day a week, you prevent 55 pounds of pollution each year from being emitted into our
air. And think of the money you'll save on gas, parking and car upkeep.
2. Take public transit
Take transit and let someone else deal with the traffic. Treat yourself to a stress-free
commute. You'll also find that public transit can get you to events or weekend activities
that might be in your plans. Call 511 or visit www.sacregion511.org for information on how
local transit can get you where you're going.
3. Carpool or vanpool to work a few days, or even one day a week
Share a ride. Whether you're driving to work, the gym, a baseball game or the park, find a
carpool partner. Take turns driving and give yourselves a break from road-stress a few days a
week. Also, many employers and counties have an Emergency Ride Home program that makes cars
or taxi vouchers available to carpoolers/vanpoolers and transit-takers in case of emergency
or a situation in which your original ride might be unavailable to you. Call 511 or visit
www.sacregion511.org to sign up online.
4. Sign up for Air Alert — your free air quality e-mail
Air Alert gives you Spare The Air advisories for ground-level ozone
when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach 127 or above, plus your choice of
daily air quality forecasts and current conditions at monitoring sites in the region.
5. Refuel in the evening and never top off
Putting gas into your vehicle releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air.
Throughout the day, these VOCs mix with oxides of nitrogen (NOx), "cook" in the summer sun,
and form ground-level ozone. Refueling in the evening decreases the opportunity for VOCs to
6. Link your trips
Cold engines pollute up to five times more than warm ones. A cold engine is one that has
been sitting for over an hour. When possible, link all of your errands together into one
trip to minimize "cold starts". Postpone errands on a Spare The Air Day.
Why commute at all if you can arrange to work from home? You'll save commute time and
expenses. Even if you do this just one day a week, you'll be making a difference.
8. Avoid consumer spray products
These aerosol products include hairspray, furniture polish, cooking sprays, bathroom
cleaners, air fresheners, antiperspirants, insecticides, and hobby craft sprays. Hair spray
alone contributes 12 tons of pollution per day. When buying consumer products, choose solids,
sticks, and gels instead. They are more environmentally friendly.
9. It's ok to barbecue, but don't use charcoal lighter fluid
Use an electric starter or chimney briquette starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid. Better
yet, replace your charcoal grill with a propane gas grill.
10. Do your garden chores gasoline-free
Avoid gas-powered yard tools such as mowers, blowers, edgers and trimmers — switch
to electric-powered tools.
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Wood smoke produces fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) pollution that affects the health of your
family, friends and neighbors. It is a common source of odor, reduced visibility and health
problems during the fall and winter months. In fact, it accounts for almost 50% of the
particulate matter problem in Sacramento County from November to February.
Here's how you can reduce wood smoke when a daily restriction is not in effect:
Purchase a cleaner burning product, such as a natural gas fireplace insert – click here to
get a voucher from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Don't burn wet or moist wood
Burn only dry hardwood such as oak or cherry
Cover and elevate your stored wood to protect it from rain and moisture
Never burn garbage, glossy paper, painted or chemically-treated wood
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year
Burn manufactured firelogs when it is legal to burn – they are illegal to burn during a Stage 1 or Stage 2 day
Give your fire plenty of room – a fire with a good air supply produces less smoke
Don't build large smoldering fires
Make sure wood stove and fireplace inserts fit the heating needs of the home – don't buy
more power than you need
Watch your chimney for smoke – if you see smoke then the wood is not burning efficiently
Wear a sweater on chilly nights instead of lighting a fire
If you live in Sacramento County, call 877-NOBURN-5 (877-662-8765) from November through
February to Check Before You Burn. A recorded message will tell you the daily burn status.
For health effects information:
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District - 916-874-4800
American Lung Association of California - 916-554-5864 (LUNG)
Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails - 916-444-5900
For fire safety information:
Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District - 916-566-4000
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