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Public Health Actions

New Mexico Environmental Public Health program has proved to be an asset to New Mexico's public health system and community networks. It often serves as the platform for stimulating actions that result in improved public health services and responses. New Mexico's successes are featured on the CDC's website. Listed below are more success stories:

Wildfire season in New Mexico typically starts in May and ends in early July. Prolonged exposure to smoke is harmful to people of all ages but especially to young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease. Wildfires can spread fast causing air quality to change quickly. This allows little time for alerting nearby residents to take measures to protect their health.
Wildfires in 2011 spurred a proactive approach by the New Mexico Department of Health in preparing for and dealing with the wildfire season. In support, the New Mexico Tracking Program created a number of resources, including fact sheets and posters, to educate residents about ways to protect their health during wildfires. Tracking program staff developed the 5-3-1 Visibility Method to help residents more easily judge smoke danger and decide when to head indoors. In addition, they devised an [ interactive mapping tool] to help residents determine when wildfire smoke is near enough to cause them harm
Using the tracking program's method and resources, New Mexico residents do not have to wait for official smoke alerts before making decisions about how to protect their health during wildfires. Now they can monitor their community and move more quickly if needed. More residents are learning about the tracking program's resources through the efforts of the US Forest Service, National Weather Service, and Southwest Coordination Center. The tracking program's impact also extends beyond New Mexico-two states have adopted the program's visibility tool for use in their forest management programs.

"Before the tracking network came up with the 5-3-1 tool we had a system which was wholly convoluted and complicated. It was very difficult for us to use as people trying to help inform the public and for the public to understand."

-- Chuck Maxwell, Predictive Services Meteorologist, Southwest Coordination Center
The NM EPHT website is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, 6 NUE1EH001354 (previously, 5 U38EH000949), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 06 December 2021 8:45:17 from New Mexico EPHT Tracking Public Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:04 MDT