Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC)
- Wildfire smoke can harm you in multiple ways. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.
- Our Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) has coordinated with management to establish a Wildfire Smoke Protocol to keep us safe during wildfire season.
- Key protections include the availability of N95 masks, layover hotel safety, and accommodations for sensitive groups.
As we enter peak wildfire season in many parts of the country, it’s important to be mindful of the risks that come with it. Not only are wildfires dangerous in and of themselves, but the smoke they produce can also be hazardous to our health. Wildfire smoke contains a variety of harmful particles and gases, including carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particulate matter that can penetrate deep into our lungs. Therefore, taking precautions to protect ourselves from the dangers of wildfire smoke is crucial.
Our Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) has worked with management to develop and implement a Wildfire Smoke Protocol to keep Flight Attendants safe during wildfire season. When the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches or is expected to exceed 200 at a given airport, inflight management will post an alert on the inflight website, and the protocol will go into effect for that location. When the protocol is triggered, the following will apply:
Availability of N95 Masks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a properly worn N95 mask will offer some protection from wildfire smoke. Management will make N95 masks available at impacted stations and all Flight Attendant bases.
Management will evaluate air quality in hotel rooms located in affected areas. Alternative lodging options will be identified in case relocation becomes necessary. Hotels in evacuation zones will not be used. Flight Attendants will be notified of any hotel changes by Crew Scheduling.
Accommodations for Sensitive Groups
Individuals especially vulnerable to poor air quality due to pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or lung disease (including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or diabetes), making them sensitive to poor air quality as defined by the AQI, are part of the Sensitive Group. Flight Attendants who are part of the Sensitive Group will not be required to layover at stations that are experiencing or are forecast to experience an Air Quality Index (AQI) over 200.
Process for requesting an accommodation:
- Flight Attendants in the Sensitive Group must self-identify to Inflight Base management to receive an accommodation.
- To request a wildfire smoke accommodation, Flight Attendants must call Inflight Base management after an alert is posted.
- Flight Attendants in the Sensitive Group will be removed or SIP’d from trips that layover in impacted stations with an AQI 200 or greater with a management drop, no points.
- For lineholders, Crew Scheduling management will SIP the sequence prior to the affected RON either at a SIP if there is one or by ending the trip early and deadheading the Flight Attendant back to base.
- If on reserve, Flight Attendant may be assigned additional flying or returned to the LTFA as applicable.
Note: Flight Attendants must send eligible documentation for pre-existing conditions to Absence Management’s secured email within seven business days. If documents are not received within seven business days or are denied, the management drop will accrue points.
The complete Inflight Wildfire Smoke Protocol can be found on the Flight Attendant website under the safety tab or in GoodReader on the IMD in the FAM Supplemental Folder. Both locations also contain information about mask usage.
If you have any questions, please contact your Local ASHSC.