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Garner Stymied by Ozone Alert

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GARNER — The heat is cooking auto emissions into an unhealthy mess. The result is that the Triangle is once again under a code orange ozone alert. For one Wake County town, that has meant shutting down some operations.

On ozone action days, all Garner town departments are advised to shutdown any gas-powered equipment, including town vehicles and lawn mowing and landscaping equipment. Town vehicles and equipment must be fueled between 7p.m. and 7a.m., and the town has a unique way of letting its citizens know what the ozone level is.

The historic town welcomes everyone to its neighborhood, but it doesn't consider ground ozone a neighbor. Orange flags hang outside the Garner Senior Center and other town offices warning people to take action on an orange alert day.

"We advise the elderly and young children, and people with breathing difficulties that they stay in on the orange days and the red days," said air quality coordinator Patrick Childs.

Rosa Hales, 79, finds it hard to resist spending time sitting on her porch, even on high ozone days.

"It doesn't bother me no more than, you know," says Hales. "If I want to go into the house, my house has got air in it. I go in there if I get tired."

Paramedics say many people aren't aware that high ground ozone levels can trigger respiratory problems, but the paramedics are always prepared to handle emergencies with nebulizers and oxygen.

"We give it to people with reactive airway disorders like emphysema or asthma that develop shortness of breath or wheezing associated with environmental exposures," says paramedic Jason Wells. Editor's Note:

The division of air quality encourages people to use these ozone-reducing tips:
  • When driving, avoid idling for long periods
  • Postpone refueling your car until after 6 p.m..
  • Car pool, walk or ride your bike.
  • Conserve electricity
  • Do not cut grass before 6 p.m..
  • Do not openly burn debris.
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