CANADA, July 29 — Mike Farnworth, Secretary of Public Safety and Attorney General, Adrian Dix, Secretary of Health, and Dr. BC Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry issued the following statement regarding ongoing heat warnings across BC:
“As we move into the BC Day long weekend, we are seeing sustained hot temperatures with minimal cooling overnight in many parts of the province. We encourage everyone to remember that high indoor temperatures can be dangerous for vulnerable people and those more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and to check on them regularly.
“The people most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses are older adults, people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. All of these people are at higher risk if they live alone or are socially isolated.
“The persistent heat in BC this weekend means special care is needed both indoors and outdoors, particularly for workers and others engaged in strenuous activities. Those who work outdoors should take regular breaks and go to cool places as often as possible. Employers are encouraged to help make this possible.
“To help people deal with the ongoing heat, many communities have opened cooling centers and fog stations. Residents are encouraged to check with their community, regional district or First Nation for the most up-to-date information.
“Just as it’s important to keep a cool head this weekend, it’s also important to check in often with those who are at higher risk, especially if they live alone. Check in at least twice a day and once in the evenings when it’s hottest inside. If possible, help them find an air-conditioned room. Encourage those who may not know they are at higher risk to take cool baths, sleep in the coolest room, or stay with friends.
“If you have air conditioning and your higher-risk family members don’t, bring it into your home. Never leave children, dependent adults or pets alone in a parked car, even for a short time. Leaving windows open doesn’t help.
“Everyone is reminded to drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated, even if you’re not thirsty. Spray water on your body, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath, or sit part of your body in water to cool off.
“Keep your indoor environment as cool as possible. Use air conditioning if you have one. Close blinds and curtains during the day to keep the sun out, and close windows when it’s hotter outside than inside to lock in the cooler air inside. Open windows and doors late in the evening and early in the morning to bring in as much cooler air as possible. Find a cooler place in your home and prepare it to stay there at night if possible.
“Anyone who feels uncomfortable in the heat should cool down immediately. Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headaches and dizziness. Overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It’s important to take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day, staying in the shade whenever possible and using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
“You can call HealthLinkBC on 811 and speak to a nurse or go to an emergency center or clinic if it is safe for you to do so. That way, emergency medical personnel and paramedics are available for people who need their services most.”
For information on preparing for heat events, including those at greater risk of heat, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/prevention-public-health/preparing-for-heat-events
For online tools, including a “Check Your Symptoms” tool, go to: healthlinkbc.ca
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Weather Warnings: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
EmergencyInfoBC Heat Alert and Cooling Center Information:
PreparedBC heat readiness information:
Extreme Heat Preparation Guide: www.preparedbc.ca/extremeheat
For more information on the National Collaborating Center for Environmental Health’s health checks during extreme heat, visit: https://ncceh.ca/documents/guide/health-checks-during-extreme-heat-events