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Fire Season Preparedness: Resources & Information

Over the last few years, wildfires in California have impacted air quality in the Bay Area during wildfire season. The University closely monitors the Air Quality Index (AQI) and consults with the Bay Area Quality Management District and campus medical physicians when we are faced with poor air quality.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a smoke event:

  • We encourage everyone to stay indoors with windows and doors closed, to the extent possible.
  • Limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure if you smell smoke.
  • Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
  • Consider purchasing a non-ozone-producing air purifier (HEPA) to create a cleaner air room in your room or home.

How to Protect Your Health

University Health Services (UHS)  has a limited supply of N-95 respirators for students to use in emergencies, which are reserved for those most in need. Students with asthma and other underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk of adverse effects and who are experiencing symptoms related to air quality can be assessed, treated, and receive respirators at UHS.

  • Please remember: the only way to completely avoid potential health risks from both chemicals and particulates found in smoke is to avoid exposure. Stay indoors if you can, and if you must be active outside in smoky areas, take steps to limit your time and level of activity outdoors. While N-95 masks provide limited particulate filtration and comfort for those sensitive to the smoke, they do not filter harmful chemicals found in smoke and are proven to provide protection only if individually fitted by a trained technician.
  • For additional information on potential health impacts, protective actions, and other resources, please visit our Wildfire Smoke and Air Quality resource page.

Power Outages

Here is some important information in the event of a campus power outage, which may or may not be related to a wildfire/smoke event. You may wish to save some of the following important phone numbers.

Safety contacts

  • For emergencies, dial 911 or via cell on campus dial UCPD at (510) 642-3333.
  • On campus non-emergencies – UCPD at (510) 642-6760 (
  • City of Berkeley – Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5900 (

In Residence Halls & Single Student Apartments

  • In the event of power loss, some buildings will have exit lighting in hallways and stairways while others may only have basic, temporary pathway lighting. Please use caution entering and exiting your building and use your flashlight!
  • Make sure your phones and electronics are fully charged.
  • Do not use candles or other flames for light. Instead, use battery-powered flashlights.
  • Fill up all reusable containers of water for your own personal use.
  • Elevators should only be used for urgent accessibility access and may not work in all buildings or for the duration of the outage. Please let your Resident Director know if you have any accessibility concerns or problems with your location.
  • For medical needs like medications that require refrigeration, special dietary requirements, or devices that need power, talk with your Resident Director.
  • Please plan ahead for refrigerated food, consider consuming it or storing it with a friend who has power.
  • Unit front desks will remain open, and maintenance and custodial staff will be on-site for work orders and assistance as needed.
  • Be aware of your friends, and attentive to your surroundings; look out for each other.

In University Village Albany

  • Please refrain from calling UCPD, or duty phone for non-emergency questions. Those lines need to stay open for emergencies. For general questions, please contact the front desk.
  • Charge your cell phones in advance. Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies, and cash.
  • Please plan ahead for your storage of refrigerated food.
  • Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children, and animals.

Nonresidence Hall DSP Students (private apartment/house, co-op, fraternity or sorority, etc.)

If you have any accessibility concerns or problems with your location or for any medical needs like medications that require refrigeration, special dietary requirements, or devices that need power, contact the Disabled Students Program.

Additional Resources

Environmental, Health & Safety’s Wildfire Smoke resource page.

Current air quality map