The Broward Air Quality Index (AQI) School Flag Program is a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Broward AQI School Flag Program helps children, parents, the community and school personnel become aware of daily outdoor air quality conditions using brightly colored flags. Each day, a flag is raised in front of participating schools that signal the level of air pollution for that day and will be followed up with a mention during the school’s morning announcements. The flag colors correspond to the colors used in EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI), which tells how clean or polluted the air is for that day. When members of the school and the surrounding community know what the daily air quality is, they can adjust their activities to reduce their exposure to air pollution. Regular physical activity – at least 60 minutes a day – promotes health and fitness. The purpose of the school flag program is to help children continue to exercise while protecting their health when the air quality is unhealthy. Green indicates good air quality, yellow is moderate, and orange means unhealthy for sensitive groups (such as children and those with asthma).
The Air Quality Index
Each day, schools raise a colored flag that corresponds to the local air quality forecast:
- Green flag – good air quality
- Yellow flag – moderate air quality
- Orange flag – unhealthy for sensitive groups (including all children and people with asthma)
Note: There is a fourth and fifth color – red and maroon respectively-- used in EPA’s Air Quality Index. They indicate unhealthy (red) and very unhealthy (maroon) air quality. They are not included in the Broward County AQI School flag program because these conditions are rare in South Florida. In the event we do experience unhealthy or very unhealthy air quality, health advisories will be issued from the Pollution Prevention Division (PPD) in the local media.
Air quality can become unhealthy due to pollutants such as ground-level ozone and particle pollution. Ozone is especially damaging to the lungs of children and those who work and play outside. Particle pollution - especially fine particles such as those found in smoke, haze or dust - contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Children (including teenagers) are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. People with asthma are also more likely to have symptoms when pollution is in the air. Children, including those with asthma, can continue to stay active even when air quality is unhealthy by modifying their activities or, in some cases, moving their activities indoors.
Congratulations to the 2014 Broward AQI School Flag Program Participating Schools
How does the Broward AQI School Flag Program work?
Schools that are interested in participating in the Broward AQI School Flag Program can email the Pollution Prevention Division (PPD) at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Broward County PPD will select schools each school year to participate in the school flag program.
Selection is based on the school’s level of interest, location in Broward County (north, central, south), length of school year (standard school year versus year around school year), and with special preference given to Title I Schools.
Once selected PPD will register your school on EPA’s school flag website
EPA will add your school to the online table of participating schools and will send you an official participation certificate for display.
PPD will provide the selected schools, FREE of charge, with all the materials needed to implement the program, including Green, Yellow and Orange flags, an Air Quality Information Board, and other informational material.
The program will require each participating school to:
- Select a School Flag Program Coordinator (Preferably a science teacher or health/Physical Education teacher)
- Have the School Flag Program Coordinator work closely with PPD staff to establish the program within the school
- Check the air quality each morning via one of the following options:
- Broward County Pollution Prevention Division’s website
- By calling the Broward County Air Quality Index hotline at (954) 519-1280
- AirNow website
- Subscribing to EnviroFlash which allows anyone to get the daily air quality forecast sent to your email, cell phone or Twitter.
- Through the Air Now Mobile Application (available on Android and Apple).
- PPD staff will also notify participating schools if we see the AQI go out of the good (green) range.
- Coordinate with their science club or school patrols to hang the corresponding flag that represents that particular day’s air quality early each morning.
- Include an air quality message about the outdoor air quality during the morning announcements (as a part of the weather forecast or any other appropriate portion).
- Perform at least two air quality activities from the Air Quality Activity Booklet, provided by PPD, in the classrooms within the first school year the program is implemented.
- Post the Air Quality Information Board, provided by PPD, either in the school office or some other high traffic area to educate the students, parents, and other school faculty about the School Flag Program.
Why is participating in the Broward AQI School Flag Program so important?
The Broward AQI School Flag Program creates public awareness of outdoor air quality conditions. Children can continue to get plenty of physical activity, while still protecting their health from poor air quality. Children (including teenagers) are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution, which can harm their lungs and trigger asthma attacks. When air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, it is important to modify outdoor activities which could include shortening exercise or moving exercise indoors when necessary to protect the health of our students.
Broward AQI School Flag Program Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
- My School is interested in participating so how do we register?
Your school can register with the Broward Pollution Prevention Division by emailing email@example.com
- How much do the flags cost?
A set of 3 flags (1 green, 1 yellow, and 1 orange) will be provided FREE of charge by the Broward Pollution Prevention Division
- If I need assistance or have any questions relating to the program who do I contact?
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-519-1260
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