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PRAMP Air Monitoring During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Like all organizations and families across Alberta, PRAMP has reviewed its practices and plans are in place to address the restrictions and precautions that are required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivering reliable and credible air quality monitoring and reporting remains a top priority provided the health and safety of staff, contractors and the public is maintained. Key actions include:

  • All staff and contractors will be working remotely and continue to be available by telephone and email
  • Any maintenance work at air monitoring stations will be by one contractor at a time, and proper hygiene and social distancing practices will be followed
  • All in-person outreach activities are on hold and all PRAMP meetings will be held by telephone or videoconference
  • Education and outreach activities will focus on social media and online approaches
  • Contingency plans are in place with back up human resources if needed

If you have any questions about PRAMP’s response to COVID-19, please contact Karla Reesor, Executive Director at

Temporary Changes to the Air Monitoring Directive

As you may have seen in the media, the Alberta Government has temporarily changed the environmental monitoring and reporting requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the Air Monitoring Directive has been temporarily changed so that equipment calibrations at air monitoring stations can now be done quarterly rather than monthly, and the timeline for some reporting requirements has been extended or suspended. The information is available here.
The relaxations to the Air Monitoring Directive were provided to give flexibility to industry and Airsheds in the event that pandemic issues prevent the normal monitoring and reporting requirements from being met.  
All 10 Airsheds in Alberta, including PRAMP, intend to work toward the normal monitoring and reporting requirements, with monthly calibrations and maintenance at each station.  Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) have told Airsheds that:
“Alberta Environment and Parks understands the value that Airshed organizations provide for the collection of high quality air monitoring data. While understanding that Airsheds may need to reduce some of their activities as allowed by the temporary amendment to the Air Monitoring Directive, it is hoped that Airsheds can continue to provide the same high quality service as provided prior to this amendment. It essential that AEP and Airsheds continue to work in partnership to assure that air quality data is available to the public.”
AEP depends on the real-time data provided by Airsheds each hour to calculate the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). People who are most impacted by poor air quality are also more susceptible to the risks of COVID-19, so the AQHI data helps everyone make informed choices. In addition, the AQHI provides important information in wildfire season. 
PRAMP will continue to work closely with our contractors to ensure that the health and safety of workers remains a top priority, and that requirements for social distancing and proper hygiene can continue to be met.

Learn More About Your Air Quality


Outreach Update

AQHI Radio Updates

Updates on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) are now available daily on Peace River Broadcasting radio stations: River Country 94.9, KIKS 106 and YL Country 94.9.

Along with the current AQHI rating, a 30-sec ad about how to respond to the air quality is broadcast during the noon news between 12:00-12:08 pm.

PRAMP is excited to be reaching the community regularly and Peace River Broadcasting has thanked PRAMP for air quality information during this COVID-19 period. We have been informed that radio listenership is high and that our AHQI news is a fantastic addition to their programming.

Move UP Magazine

The spring edition of Move UP magazine features two PRAMP half-page ads. One ad highlights AQHI data and how to apply that knowledge. The second ad focuses on our community vermiculture program and how to compost plant matter to reduce waste.

Supporting Teachers

In early March, PRAMP and PAZA shared a booth at the Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention in Grande Prairie. We featured our programs and presentations that supplement Alberta Education curriculum. Teachers were enthusiastic and shared tips about building our resources and presentations around the science and health curriculums for each grade.

During the current closure of schools, we are not able visit classrooms. However, we are looking at ways to engage students in online activities and learning opportunities to continue to support educators around air quality information.

Although our spring plans for vermiculture workshops, science fairs and trade shows are now on hold, we are seeking alternate ways to provide PRAMP outreach and education and look forward to getting back out into the public when it is safe to do so.

Air Quality in the Era of Citizen Science


Continual learning is an important focus for PRAMP. We learn from our data, stakeholders and communities, other Airsheds, and air monitoring and environmental science experts. PRAMP staff recently attended the 17th Annual Air Quality & Health Workshop in Vancouver. It was a valuable opportunity to learn and connect with other air monitoring, reporting and education organizations.

While the global movement towards environmental justice focusses on equalizing environmental benefits and burdens across populations, availability of reliable data is becoming a key factor in managing air quality to protect human health and the environment.

The recent introduction of low cost air quality sensors into the market means ordinary citizens are becoming increasingly able to discover for themselves what is present in the air that surrounds them. Presenter, Andrea Clements, a research physical scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stated that soon air quality data will be as widely available and interpretable as traffic or meteorological data is now.

Other presenters recommended readily available, low cost portable air quality measuring devices as a means of providing data to individuals and communities concerned about local conditions and health (with the caveat that sensor data quality varies).

As citizens impacted by air pollution feel empowered by verifiable data, the movement to improve health outcomes for everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, will advance.

Although in-person outreach has been suspended due to COVID-19, the vital work of air quality monitoring in the Peace River region continues. To raise awareness about air quality, particularly as the potential wildfire season approaches, PRAMP is now concentrating our efforts on social media. You could help us with our mission by inviting your Facebook friends to like our Facebook page (@prampairshed).

PRAMP monitors emissions and air quality to ensure a healthy environment in the Peace River area.
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