VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The heat warning continues for Metro Vancouver with the UV index getting up to eight, which is extreme. Environment Canada says some records were broken over the weekend and it expects more to fall today.
The City of Vancouver says it will have people out around the city to make sure everyone enjoying the sun is still being safe.
“Every time we have a heat warning issued by Environment Canada we take a number of actions, and those include messaging out to the public so we echo what Environment Canada and the medical health community say in terms of taking actions for people to increase their vigilance around the heat,” says the City’s Director of Emergency Management Daniel Stevens.
“And specifically the city increases it’s patrols. VPD, park rangers, and fire, as possible, are increasing patrols in areas where there are more vulnerable people, especially in parks where people are often out in the sun and can unexpectedly be impacted from it.”
He adds they’re opening up cooling centres at neigbourhood hubs with air conditioning, including:
- Britannia Community Centre
- Evelyne Saller
- Gathering Place
- Mount Pleasant
- West End
“We provide water and an opportunity for the public to come in and cool down,” he says. “These are places where people can come in and get some air conditioning and get their body temperature to level off a bit.”
He recommends bringing a water bottle when you pop into a cooling centre and refilling it before you leave, or you can fill it up at any number of the City’s water fountains. He also says the City’s many splash parks are another good way to cool down.
“Stay safe and enjoy the sun.”
Those who care specifically look out for the city’s most vulnerable will be out and about in the city today as well, looking to support those need a helping hand. Nicole Mucci with the Union Gospel Mission says they’ll be handing out water to Vancouver’s most-vulnerable population.
“Survival is already a struggle for people who are living without homes and for our neighbours in our community. When it gets this hot, it can bring anything from sun burn, to dehydration, to sunstroke for everybody, but for the most vulnerable population especially,” says Mucci.
“We also have out outreach team planning to go out this afternoon just making sure people have water, they have some sunscreen, and that they know they should try to find a cool place to hang out during heat spells.”
She also says the UGM will be open with water and air conditioning, similar to the City’s cooling centres.
“We like the cooling shelters and we often think that they’re helpful. The city does a great job of making water fountains and cooling centres available when they’re needed.”
She adds, if you’d like to pitch in, the UGM is always looking for donations when it comes to things like bottled water and sunscreen over the summer months.
Fraser Health is also hoping you’ll check in on your elderly friends, family, and neighbours, as the heat can give them a hard time as well.
“Older adults can be at higher risk…the body can be less able to cool down as is necessary in higher temperatures,” says Dr. Michael Schwandt.
He warns to watch out for heat-illness symptoms in seniors, as well as yourself and kids.
“Some of the first symptoms you can notice with heat illness might be in the relatively mild category. You might see fatigue or weakness, certainly initially you might see heavy sweating. But when the symptoms progress onto things like dizziness, or even fainting, noticing nausea or headaches, that’s a sign heat illness is becoming more severe.”
He recommends spending most of the day in a cool space, and making sure elderly relatives have a place to stay cool.
“That could be in the home, a workplace in some cases, as well as places like libraries or community centres. Any where with air conditioning or cooler temperatures.”
Hydration is also important–Schwandt says drink water well before you feel hot or thirsty to make sure.
-With files from Martin MacMahon, Simon Druker