Air Quality Concerns - September 2017

Sept. 11, 2017

Air quality conditions have improved to the Moderate range. Limitations to outdoor activities have been lifted. Normal activities can resume.

Remember to check here when air quality problems emerge.

Thank you to everyone for your cooperation with this safety precaution.

Wildfires in Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia have created poor air quality affecting Gonzaga University and all of Spokane. Gonzaga University is prepared and taking precautions to keep our community safe.

Air quality worsened over Labor Day Weekend and the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency expects conditions to be in the Unhealthy to Hazardous range through Friday. No rain is expected.

Because of these current and forecast conditions, Gonzaga University requests campus community members limit exposure outdoors:

  • Events planned for outdoors must be moved indoors or cancelled, including intramurals and Athletic events.
  • Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Employees must check with supervisors regarding outdoor assignments. Student requests for permission for outdoor events during this time will be considered by the Policy Group of the EOC and should be directed to the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management at 509-313-6445.

Classes Remain in Session. Guidance for schools from the Spokane Regional Health District notes that indoor activities continue to be safe, and limited outdoor exposure (walking to class) is not problematic for most people.

This guidance will be re-evaluated by campus authorities when air quality drops below the trigger-point of “unhealthy.”


Be Smart and Proactive.

Monitor air conditions on the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency website.

Check the air quality index »

Check the Spokane Regional Health District’s web site for additional information on monitoring air quality, limiting exposure and other essential questions. Reliable FAQs are covered on this site.

Review Air Quality & Wildfire FAQ »


When smoke levels are high, even healthy people may experience coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and a runny nose.

Tips to minimize impact of poor air quality for everyone

  • Pay attention to air quality reports by checking the index link above.
  • Use common sense. If it looks or smells smoky outside, it's probably not a good time to be outdoors if you can avoid it.
  • Modify your activities. If you must go out, do your most vigorous activities when air quality is best or shift activities indoors, if possible.
  • When walking across campus, cut through buildings when possible or take break indoors – especially if you start to experience shortness of breath or lightheadedness.
  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
  • If you have an air conditioner, running it may help, but make sure that the fresh air intake vent is closed and the filter is clean. If not, turn the system off.

Especially for students

  • Bring a fan to keep air circulating in your dorm room when windows are closed.
  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is important.
  • Bring and carry with you personal accessories such as eye drops, inhaler, or whatever you need to be comfortable.
  • If your dorm is equipped with a GU-issued air conditioner, use it, but make sure the fresh air intake vent is closed and the filter is clean.

Especially for faculty & staff

  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is important.
  • If you have to be outdoors, take frequent breaks.
  • If your office is equipped with a GU-issued air conditioner, use it, but make sure the fresh air intake vent is closed and the filter is clean.
  • Avoid vacuuming, dry dusting or sweeping. These cleaning methods can increase particle levels and stir up particles in a home and should be avoided during smoky air conditions.
  • Talk to your supervisor if the air quality is impacting your ability to work.

Information Especially for Parents & Families

  • Remind your student to stay hydrated and use personal care accessories as necessary.

For Help

If you are in respiratory distress call 911

Students who feel ill should visit the Health & Counseling Services on campus - 704 East Sharp, (Corner of Sharp & Dakota) (509) 313-4052 or (509) 313-4066

For after-hours care call Family Medicine Spokane at (509) 624-2313 to speak with a physician.

The closest medical treatment facilities include:

  • Local Urgent Care Centers
    • Providence Urgent Care - (509) 474-2100
      421 S. Division, Spokane WA 99208
    • Rockwood Clinic Urgent Care - (509) 342-3100
      400 E Fifth Ave, Spokane WA 99202
    • U.S. HealthWorks - (509) 747-0770
      2005 E 29th, Spokane WA 92203
    • Franklin Park Urgent Care - (509) 237-6537
      5904 N Division, Spokane WA 99207
  • Local Emergency Departments
    • Sacred Heart Emergency Dept - (509) 474-3131
      101 W. 8th Ave., Spokane WA 99240
    • Holy Family Emergency Dept - (509) 482-0111
      5633 N. Lidgerwood St., Spokane WA 99208
    • Deaconess Hospital Emergency Dept - (509) 473-5800
      800 W. 5th, Spokane WA 99204
  • Employees with safety questions should contact
    • Larry Hagel, Safety Programs Manager, Human Resources – 509-313-5856 or hagel@gonzaga.edu. Faculty and staff should contact their primary healthcare provider with questions about their health.
Office of Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management
502 E. Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99258-0069
Phone: 509.313.6445
Fax: 509.313.5199
www.gonzaga.edu/eprm

Joe Madsen, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management
509-313-6445
madsenj@gonzaga.edu

Cassandra Stelter, Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management Specialist
509-313-6358
stelter@gonzaga.edu

Charles Murphy, Vice President for Finance
509-313-6139
murphyc@gonzaga.edu

Marcia Bertholf, Assistant to Vice President for Finance
509-313-6139
bertholf@gonzaga.edu