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Smoke and dust health action levels explained

Health action levels are recommendations that have been developed by Queensland Health to support and inform the community on what actions to take to protect their health during a smoke event.

The health action levels are based on hourly PM2.5 measurements and provide separate advice on preventative actions for the general public and for individuals who are potentially more sensitive.

A health action level is only provided for monitoring stations where PM2.5 is measured.

Sensitive groups include:

  • people with a heart or lung condition, including asthma
  • people over the age of 65
  • infants and children
  • pregnant women.

Please note that these are recommendations only. Follow directions from emergency services and advice from your doctor at all times. If you are feeling unwell, please seek medical advice from a doctor, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

Health action level 1—good PM2.5 concentrations 0–25µg/m3

Sensitive groups
No change needed to your normal outdoor activities.
Everyone else
No change needed to your normal outdoor activities.

Health action level 2—fair PM2.5 concentrations 25–50µg/m3

Sensitive groups

Reduce outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms like cough or shortness of breath.

Consider closing windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.

Follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Everyone else

No change needed to your normal outdoor activities.

Health action level 3—poor PM2.5 concentrations 50–100µg/m3

The air is likely to be dusty or smoky.

Sensitive groups

Avoid outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms like cough or shortness of breath.

When indoors, close windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.

Follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Everyone else

Reduce outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms like cough or shortness of breath.

Health action level 4—very poor PM2.5 concentrations 100–300µg/m3

The air is very dusty or smoky.

Sensitive groups

Stay indoors as much as possible with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better.

Actively monitor symptoms and follow any treatment plan recommended by your doctor.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Everyone else

Avoid outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms like cough or shortness of breath.

When indoors, close windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Health action level 5—extremely poor PM2.5 concentrations >300µg/m3

The air is very dusty or smoky.

Sensitive groups

Stay indoors with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better and reduce indoor activity.

Actively monitor symptoms and follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Everyone else

Stay indoors as much as possible with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better.

If you are concerned about symptoms call 13 HEALTH or see your doctor.

If you or anyone in your care has trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 000 for an ambulance.

Live air data

View the current air quality in Queensland and the current smoke and dust health action levels, with hourly updates from the statewide monitoring network.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
30 September 2021
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