Monitoring the Air, Providing N-95 Masks

Smoke over the campus, main "UC Davis" water tower in foreground.
It’s smoky here and it’s no doubt smoky where you live, too. (Tim McConville/UC Davis)

UC Davis officials are monitoring air quality continuously as smoke from nearby wildfires continues to hang over the region. The university is providing N-95 masks to essential outdoor workers, limiting essential outdoor work assignments and adjusting some ventilation systems.

Health and safety protocols will guide decision on campus operations,  but, since they are already scaled back because of the pandemic, no change in status is expected.

In buildings with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that Facilities Management can control remotely, some units have been adjusted to recirculate the air within the buildings, rather than draw in outside air. Labs and animal facilities are still being ventilated with 100 percent outside air, while the same may not be true for the offices and common areas in the same buildings.

Read more about building ventilation and filtration.

In regard to the essential outdoor workforce, officials are reminding supervisors of the need to provide respiratory protection for those employees. Details and the regulatory reference can be found on the Wildfire and Smoke Outdoor Workers webpage.

Eric Kvigne, associate vice chancellor for Safety Services, advised departments of their responsibilities as follows:

  • Have a plan to minimize outdoor worker exposure and limit that work to essential needs only.
  • Have a communication method in place to immediately advise the outdoor workforce when AQI hits 150.
  • Have a ready supply of N-95 respirators to use and distribute at a moment’s notice. Keep enough supply on hand in anticipation of multiple days as well as multiple smoke events through the year.
  • Purchase N-95s for essential outdoor workers through AggieBuy.

Supply Chain Management has N-95s in stock, on campus. Here’s how to purchase them:

  • Go to AggieBuy.
  • Click on the Central Storehouse tile on the main dashboard.
  • Search for “N95.”
  • Choose your quantity.

Important: The N-95 respirator masks are available for departments and units that need them for essential outdoor workers, health care workers and first responders — and only for those three categories.

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