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DAM AQI Policy Revised

October 11, 2021 2:33 PM | Anonymous

DAM AQI Policy Revised

   It was only a few short years ago that DAM first cancelled practices due to poor air quality. The size and severity of wildfires has only increased, and unfortunately, DAM has been forced to cancel practices several times since. Like many organizations, we were caught unprepared for some very difficult questions: What is a "safe" level of air quality for our swimmers, and for our coaching staff? What measure of air quality should we use, and how is the decision made to cancel (or to not cancel) a practice?

   As time passed, more methods for measuring and quantifying air quality have become available. And while there is no universally accepted standard for acceptable air quality for outdoor fitness activities, there is some concensus that an air quality index (AQI) of 150 or more is a level at which strenuous outdoor activity should be restricted.

   The City of Davis cancels outdoor programs when the AQI reaches a level of 150 or more. DAM has used that same level as the determining factor in cancelling practices. But as our policy has come under more frequent use, we have found that the policy was lacking in some respects:exactly who is making the determination, and when are they doing it? 

  • exactly who is making the determination, and when are they doing it?
  • exactly how is the determination made? There are many sources for AQI information, which one, and what settings are used to obtain the current values?
  • timely information for swimmers is essential

   The DAM Board of Directors has formally adopted the following policy for practice cancellations. It will take some time for all the essential pieces of this policy to come together, in the form of some automated tools for our swimmers and staff to use, but until then we will do our best to follow this policy.

The DAM Air Quality Policy is as follows:

  1. DAM determines an AQI - the DAMAQI - using the following method:
    1. Using a pre-determined set of outdoor Purple Air Sensors close to Civic Pool, we collect the AQI for each from Purple Air's online map using these settings: "US EPA PM2.5 AQI" layer, "AQ&U" conversion, 10 minute averaging period. The average of those readings determines the DAMAQI. 
    2. The DAMAQI is checked every 15 minutes. 
  2. Cancellation of practices. If the DAMAQI rises above 150 for two consecutive measurements, made 15 minutes apart, then all DAM practices are cancelled until the DAMAQI returns to an acceptable level (see below).
  3. Resumption of practices. Once practices have been cancelled, they can only resume if the DAMAQI falls below 150 for two consecutive measurements, made 15 minutes apart. 
  4. Automatic cancellation.  If the DAMAQI rises above 200 on any single measurement, all DAM swimming stops immediately. 
  5. Coach's Discretion. The coach on deck can make the determination, based on current conditions, that a practice should be cancelled. This is meant for rapidly changing conditions, or other situations where the regular sources of information for the DAMAQI are unavailable or otherwise unreliable. 

Notification to swimmers
  • DAM will attempt to provide notification through two methods
    • Website. We will post a message at the top of our homepage indicating that practices are cancelled, and when the time comes, that practices are resumed. 
    • Text Messaging. We are developing a text message alert system to give all DAM members (those who opt in) notification of cancellation and resumption of practice. 
  • DAM has a goal of providing notification of cancelled practices 30 minutes prior to their scheduled starting time. 

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