Step 1: Know when the air quality is yellow or red
- Sign up now to receive air quality alerts from the Utah Department of Air Quality, to know in advance when the air will be unhealthy (just send the blank email to and you will be added to the list). The local news and newspapers also report on the air quality. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates.
- Become a member of Breathe Utah to receive updates and important info and "Like" Breathe Utah's Facebook page for updates.
Step 2: Create Your Personal Action Plan
1) Plan How to Get Where You are Going Without Driving Alone
Register to participate in the Care to Clear the Air initiative.
- The Care to Clear the Air initiative occurring during the month of January follows the success of the Clear the Air Challenge held June-July. By registering, participants will get tools – including real-time Red/Yellow air day text alerts, special community events, weekly newsletters, freebies and more – to make it easier to use transportation strategies to help clear the air during the worst of inversion season.
Create a transportation plan in advance, so it is ready to implement on yellow or red air days.
- Walk or Bike
Determine a route to walk to work, to your child's school or your place of worship if it is within walking distance. If the weather makes it possible, use your bike, or a combination of bike and public transit to get to work. Visit UTA's Bicycle Commuting page and Salt Lake Bicycle Collective for more info.
- Public Transit
Learn public transportation routes to the places you and your family go. Use UTA's Trip Planner, Logan/Cache Valley transit, or Park City transit.
- Have schedules and routes printed and available, along with the necessary cash/coins set aside if necessary, to avoid last minute scrambling.
- Determine the extra time you will need, so you can plan for necessary schedule adjustments.
Set up carpools for school, work, and your place of worship so they can be easily put into place as needed.
- For work
- For school and place of worship
- Talk with neighbors and set up a carpool plan in advance for red and yellow air days. Visit Divide the Ride to set up your school carpool with parents you trust.
- Request that your principal and/or clergy instituting a carpool program, to make carpooling easier to set up.
- For work
2) Set up a Telecommute Plan
Talk to your employer in advance about allowing telecommuting on yellow and red air days.
- Print out the Telecommuting Tip Sheet (pdf) to see if telecommuting works for you and to help walk you through the discussion with your employer.
- Refer your employer to the TravelWise strategy page for the business benefits of telecommuting and to Breathe Utah's Air Quality information page or the Dept. of Air Quality's Choose Clean Air website for air quality information to help them with their decision.
3) If you Must Drive, Drive Smarter
If you anticipate that you must drive alone on yellow or red-air days, learn in advance about how to make most efficient trips possible.
- Don’t idle your vehicle
- Turn off your car if you will be idling for 10 seconds or more and avoid idling as a way to "warm up" your engine (modern engines don't need it)
- Make sure your child's school has an anti-idling program in place, to encourage parents to turn off their cars during school pickup.
- Trip Chaining link your errands together to reduce pollution from "cold starts."
- Avoid drive-through windows.
- Avoid congested roadways by checking CommuterLink and UTA Trip Planner before you leave home.
- Use these other EcoDriving practices.
4) Plan for Reduced Outdoor Activity
- Reduce strenuous activity on yellow air quality days and avoid all strenuous outdoor activity on red air days.
- Ensure that your child’s school has the air quality recess guidelines and intends to implement them. The guidelines are available as a pdf.
- Have indoor physical activities for kids planned in advance. Some sources of ideas are Rainy Day activities from Get Kids in Action and Physical Activity Ideas for Kids from Food Link NY.
Step 3: Test Plan, Share, and Take Action
1) Test Run
Do a practice run of your bus route or carpool on a good air quality day. Be sure to update your plans as public transportation schedules change or carpool details are rearranged.
Let others know about the Air Quality Emergency Action Plan. By getting others to plan ahead, you will help reduce the number of red air days along the Wasatch Front.
- Tell your city council, state representative, and other government officials that you have created your own personal air quality emergency action plan and are taking personal responsibility for our air quality. Tell them that it is important that they follow your lead with their own city- and state-wide plans and to make air quality and the health of our community of paramount importance.
- Tell others at work and school, post on Facebook about your plan, and encourage others to create their own plans.
- Sample email or Facebook text:
I just created my Air Quality Emergency Plan so that I can help reduce the number of red air days in Utah and protect our community's health. Go to Breathe Utah at www.breatheutah.org to create your own.
- Share with your friends on Facebook.
- Sample email or Facebook text:
3) Take Action
When you get the notice that it is an air alert day, put your plan into action.
- Pull out your Emergency Air Action Plan and follow your pre-planned steps.
- Don't burn any wood.
- Don't use a gas powered lawn mower.
- Eliminate all unnecessary driving trips. Reschedule meetings, appointments, errands, etc. until the air clears.
- Walk, carpool or use transit to get to school, work or worship service.
- Limit or eliminate outdoor exercise, especially by children.
- Certain filters and room air cleaners can help reduce particles indoors. Get information on filters and air cleaners and how to reduce particulate pollution in your home.
Finalize Your Action Plan
Print out the Air Quality Emergency Action Plan Worksheet (pdf), fill in the information you collected in the three step action plan and put this in an easily accessible place to pull out on the first yellow air quality day.
A printable version of the entire action plan tool kit and worksheet is also available (as a pdf).
Keep it up all year
Thank you! By creating your plan, you have taken an important step toward improving our air quality and the health of our community.