OTTAWA — For the first time in its history, Environment Canada has issued an “Avoid Inhaling” alert for the mid-Island region.

“Air quality in the Nanaimo region will continue to decline, and so the only safe option is to simple avoid breathing until air quality levels return to normal.”

A government spokesperson added that this recommendation only affects high-risk people such as seniors, cancer patients, or anyone who has recently undergone a Spinal Tap procedure. To check to see if the order applies to your family, click here.

Air quality levels reached past 10 on the scale of 0 to 10, forcing Environment Canada meteorologist Nigel Tufnel to create an 11th position. Called “OMFG STOP,” it appears past “High Risk.”

In an interview with The Beacon, Tufnel explained the extra position on the air quality index:

Tufnel: “The numbers on the index all go to 11. Look, right across the board.”

Beacon: “And most of the indexes go up to 10.”

Tufnel: “Exactly.”

Beacon: “Does that mean it’s worse air quality?”

Tufnet: “Well, it’s one-worse, isn’t it? It’s not 10. You see, most blokes would register this as a 10, but then where can you go from there? Where?”

Beacon: “I don’t know.”

Tufnet: “Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?”

Beacon: “Put it up to 11.”

Tufnel: “11. Exactly. One worse.”

Beacon: “Why don’t you just make 10 represent worse air quality, and make 10 be the top number. Make that a little worse?”

Tufnel: (thoughtful pause) “But this goes to 11.”