Safe Play guidelines: Air Pollution
In the past few days we have some members ask us about correct policies or procedures to follow with regards to poor air quality as it pertains to player safety. Ultimate Victoria does not have a Safe Play policy regarding air quality but intends to adopt one in the near future. In the meantime, here are some recommended guidelines for coaches and volunteers to follow.
The Australian Institute of Sport has a best practice guideline on smoke pollution and exercise based upon Air Quality Index (AQI) measures provided by government agencies and statutory authorities. You can view the guideline and AIS recommendations via this link.
Mobile apps, such as Plume, can give you current AQI readings in your area with data sourced from EPA Victoria.
The limitation of AQI figures is that it is measured across a rolling 24 hour period and is not responsive to sudden changes in weather. You can read more about this on the World Air Quality Index website.
The EPA’s Airwatch website uses their own classification system for air quality based upon data that is much closer to real time. The Airwatch site provides hourly updates, along with 24 hour forecasts. They also deliberately place their air monitoring stations near roads, despite Australian Standards specifying not to, so that they have readings that better represent the air quality that is experienced by most people in built-up areas. For these reasons, you may see Airwatch’s status contradict that of other AQI monitoring services.
Ultimate Victoria recommends coaches and organisers use a combination of these resources to inform their decisions regarding safe play for their participants, erring on the side of caution.