Safer Air Center to Open for Relief from Smoke

Convention Center will open as temporary, regional drop-in center at 8 am Sunday

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, (509) 625-6740

Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 8:17 p.m.

The City of Spokane will open a regional temporary, short-term drop-in safer air center due to heavy smoke in the area that is causing hazardous air quality conditions.

The regional safer air center will operate 24 hours a day at the Spokane Convention Center beginning at 8 am Sunday while the air quality index remains above 250. It will be open to anyone who needs a place to seek relief from the smoke regardless of their housing situation.

“We are expanding our ability as a region to help those who require temporary relief from hazardous air quality levels,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “Anyone is welcome to come and stay for a few hours or longer as they need.”

Air quality is expected to remain in the very unhealthy range until at least Monday. The cost to operate the regional safer air center is $5,000 a day, which includes security, daily Covid cleaning, and restroom space for women and men.

The regional safer air center will initially have room for approximately 200 people with room to expand if necessary.

City Community, Housing, and Human Services staff worked with shelter providers and outreach staff late in the week to highlight the air quality concerns and ask that they continue to provide space to those who needed it. The regional safer air center will supplement those facilities while the smoke remains at or above very unhealthy levels.

Spokane Fire Department paramedics are available to check on at-risk groups via the 911 system.  At risk groups include:

  • People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Also, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play.