Public Health Advisory


Northern California Fires – Health Tips for

San Franciscans




Contact: Rachael Kagan, San Francisco Department of Public Health

             415 554-2507, 415 420-5017 cell,

UPDATE: People in San Francisco can go to the following San Francisco Public Libraries to find respite from the poor air quality caused by the North Bay fires. These locations have air filters:

San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Chinatown Branch Library, 1135 Powell Street, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Mission Bay Branch Library, 960 Fourth Street, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Glen Park Branch Libary, 2825 Diamond Street, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm


SAN FRANCISCO (October 9, 2017) – The multiple fires currently burning in Napa, Sonoma and other northern counties may be creating the potential of a health hazard, here in San Francisco. Smoke from wildfires and structure fires can affect health: eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. 



Here are some things people can do to help protect themselves:

If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, you should immediately minimize outdoor activities.  This is especially important if you have health concerns (for example, people with heart disease or respiratory disease like asthma), are elderly, pregnant, or have a child in your care.

Contact your health care provider if you experience the following symptoms:

·       Repeated coughing

·       Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·       Wheezing

·       Chest tightness or pain

·       Palpitations

·       Nausea or unusual fatigue

·       Lightheadedness


As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a live-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.

Follow these precautions to protect your health:

·       Minimize outdoor activities

·       Stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible

·       Do not run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside

·       Run your air-conditioner only if it does not bring smoke in from the outdoors 

·       Consider leaving the area until smoke conditions improve if you experience symptoms related to smoke exposure




The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is performing wellness checks throughout San Francisco and providing transport upon request for unsheltered people to MSC South (525 5th St), the Medical Respite and Sobering Center (1171 Mission St) and Next Door Shelter (1001 Polk Street).


If you are homeless and need transport or care, please contact the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Services by calling 3-1-1.




If you smell smoke, it is likely as a result of fires in Napa and Sonoma counties. Please do not call 9-1-1 to report, unless you see fire. If you are calling to report or inquire about smoke or ash, please call 3-1-1.

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a live-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.


About San Francisco Department of Public Health


The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of everyone in San Francisco. SFDPH strives to achieve its mission through the work of two main divisions – the San Francisco Health Network and the Population Health Division. The San Francisco Health Network is a community of top-rated clinics, hospitals and programs that serves more than 100,000 people annually at sites such as Castro Mission, Chinatown, and Southeast health centers, Zuckerberg San Francisco General and Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.  With a broad community focus, the goal of the Population Health Division is to ensure that San Franciscans have optimal health and wellness at every stage of life. To achieve this, the Division is comprised of branches dedicated to core public health services, such as health protection and promotion, disease and injury prevention, disaster preparedness and response, and environmental health services.


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