On brutally hot day, some heed DEP smog alerts

    As parts of Southeast Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware experienced temperatures in the mid-90s Wednesday, Pennsylvania issued its usual smog-prevention alert. But is anybody listening?

    The goal of the alerts is to reduce smog and ozone gases that build up on hot days and cause health problems for people with respiratory problems, including the very young and the very old.

    On hot days, the Department of Environmental Protection asks people to cut power use. Officials suggest refueling cars overnight and running them during the day as little as possible.

    “You said the smog? The smog didn’t have any influence on me taking the train today,” Kalima Thomas said while waiting on the commuter rail platform at SEPTA’s Market East Station. She and fellow passengers mentioned convenience, cost, traffic, general environmental benefits, but not the smog.

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    While some took the DEP’s advice, others treated Wednesday morning’s commute like any other day.

    “Although I would like to be concerned about their health, however I like the convenience and quickness of having my own car,” Elsie McCloskey said.

    The heat didn’t just impact commuters. PECO workers spent Wednesday morning rushing to make repairs to buried lines before the worst of the heat. They say they have to run the trucks to keep their flashing lights going to warn traffic. They try to shut them down when they can.

    Kevin Sunday of DEP says the department reaches out to health organizations and other partners across the state to get people involved in preventing emissions.

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