Air Quality School Flag Program

Posted by: Mary Kate Ranii on September 27, 2016

The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) is working in partnership with the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) and the SWPA Air Quality Partnership to facilitate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) School Flag program during the 2016-2017 school year. The US EPA School Flag program uses brightly colored flags to alert schools and the surrounding communities of forecasted daily air quality conditions.

PRC is working to recruit schools – public, parochial, and private- in the 10 counties included in the Southwest PA Air Quality Partnership (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, & Westmoreland) to sign up for the EPA School Flag Program.

Students at participating schools check the air quality index each morning and raise a colored flag that corresponds to the colors used in the US EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) to alert the students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community to the local air quality forecast for the day. The AQI report is based on ground-level ozone and particulate matter, which are both damaging to the lungs.

The public display of a flag allows everyone, and especially those in “sensitive” groups such as children and those with asthma, reduce their exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution. With this knowledge, outdoor activities can be modified or moved when air quality is poor.

Check your AQI every day here, and learn more about air quality issues here.

PRC is currently looking for more schools to partner with for the the School Flag Program. Email Nancy at for more information or to register your school!