(BIVN) – A emergency message from county officials was issued Monday, as high levels of volcanic gas threatened the Puna population living in the area of the ongoing eruption on the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea.
The 4:40 p.m. message stated:
Hawaii Fire Department reports that fissures in the southeast area of Lanipuna Gardens area are issuing high levels of Sulfur Dioxide gas at this time. Residents in the area and surrounding farm lots on Pohoiki Road near Lanipuna Gardens are advised the air quality is condition RED. Condition RED means immediate danger to health so take action to limit further exposure. Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe. This is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population.
Due to the toxic gas hazard in the affected area, the county stated:
- Leaving the area of SO2 inundation is the best way to protect yourself and your family.
- Seek medical attention if severely affected.
Dr. Alvin C. Bronstein, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, spoke during a press conference held outside the Hilo civil defense headquarters on Monday afternoon, where he reiterated that leaving the area of volcanic activity is the best way to protect yourself from SO2. The health department has been saying: “Only specialized masks available for purchase will protect from the dangerous gases and particulate matter that are being released in the current volcanic activity.” However, such masks require training and are not manufactured for children.