LOS ANGELES — People in smoggy Southern California can now check their pagers and cell phones to see whether it's safe to venture outdoors.
At least two companies are working with the region's air-quality agency to provide subscribers with five daily updates and a beep when a smog alert is issued.
Stephen Scheel of Sierra Madre, in the smog-laden San Gabriel Valley, has subscribed to Outspoken Industries' Smogpager for about a week. He said getting paged every day is easier than using Web sites or newspapers.
"I know it's information I can get — I just don't have time to dig it out sometimes," said Scheel, who coordinates ride-sharing programs.
The data offered include smog conditions, weather forecasts, ultraviolet indexes and pollen counts.
Outspoken charges $5.95 a month. It, like competitor PageNet, receives the data free from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Outspoken and PageNet refused to say how many subscribers they have yet, noting they are still trying to get the businesses off the ground.
Potential customers include parents, coaches and doctors who treat people with breathing difficulties, said Francis Goh, project supervisor for the air quality agency.
On the Net: Daily Southern California smog forecasts and hourly readings are available at www.aqmd.gov/smog/
Outspoken Industries: www.smogpager.com