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Metro Public Health Department and Metro Nashville Public Schools Raise the Flag on Air Quality Awareness May 3 at Inglewood Elementary School


Inglewood Elementary is one of two Metro Nashville Public Schools to begin raising a brightly colored flag to help their students, staff and members of the community be aware of daily forecasted air quality conditions.

Students at Inglewood Elementary will raise their flag for the first time on Friday, May 3 at 8 a.m. The Metro Public Health Department and Metro Schools are participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Flag Program to help protect people’s health.

“We are very proud to join the Metro Public Health Department in celebrating Air Quality Awareness Week and participate in the Air Quality Flag Program” said Cherifa McDowell, Magnet School Site Coordinator, Metro Schools. Helping our students, families, staff and neighbors understand the implications of the air quality index fits perfectly with our mission to focus on the environment here at Inglewood Elementary Environmental Sciences STEAM Magnet School. With the increase in asthma and asthma-related illnesses, lung and heart disease, air quality awareness is increasingly important to our community each and every day.”

“The local air quality can affect our daily lives and can change from day to day, season to season, and even vary depending on the time of day,” said Hugh Atkins, Environmental Health Bureau Director of the Health Department. “The flags will alert people to that particular day’s forecasted air quality, so they know when to modify their outdoor activities, like exercising for less time or moving exercise indoors when necessary,” Atkins said.

Each morning participating schools will raise a flag based on the color of the Air Quality Index to show the expected amount of air pollution for that day. The Index does not include the amount of pollen in the air. By comparing the colored flags to the Air Quality Index, everyone who sees the flags will know what actions to take to protect their health. Green signals good air quality, yellow is moderate, orange means unhealthy for sensitive groups (like children and people with asthma), and red signals unhealthy air for everyone. A purple flag means the air quality is very unhealthy and sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor exertion while everyone else should limit outdoor exertion.

Inglewood Elementary School and Croft Design Center Middle Prep are launching the flag program during Air Quality Awareness Week.

Inglewood Elementary recently adopted the Air Quality Flag Program, and the purpose of this flag event is to explain to the community what the flags represent and why the program is important.

Hillwood High School also plans to implement the program, and Haywood Elementary School has been flying their air quality flags since the start of 2019.

Getting up-to-date air quality information is easy by subscribing at Enviroflash or downloading the AirNow app. You can get the daily air quality forecast sent to your email, cell phone or Twitter. This is especially helpful for those who are sensitive to the effects of air pollution, such as children, adults who are active outdoors, people with heart and lung disease, and older adults.

For more information on the Air Quality Flag Program visit EPA’s AirNow website.

The Metro Public Health Department’s website offers the daily air quality forecast for the Nashville.