AS the summer season arrives, the City of Vancouver says it is committed to helping residents stay safe during hot weather events through a wide range of services available in the community.
The City is creating more opportunities for cooling by:
- Operating cooling centres in community centres and libraries;
- Offering increased access to drinking water at fountains and bottle-filling stations;
- Monitoring outdoor spaces for those suffering from heat-related illness; and
- Looking out for residents who are at risk of heat-related impacts.
Under the new BC Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS), there will be two categories of heat events: heat warnings and extreme heat emergencies. In the event of a heat warning or extreme heat emergency, people are reminded to take proactive steps to protect their health.
What you can do to stay cool
During an extreme heat emergency, both outdoor and indoor temperatures can be dangerous. Hot weather, especially extreme heat events, can cause illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion, because they are a sign that immediate actions need to be taken to cool down. Signs of heat stroke are a medical emergency and people should seek medical care or call 9-1-1.
It is recommended people spend time in air conditioned spaces or visit public cooling centres if you are unable to cool your home. When it is very hot, remember to also stay hydrated. There are more than 200 permanent fountains across Vancouver, with additional temporary ones added during summer months. Misting stations help people cool down and are available 24/7.
We all have a role to play by checking in on family members, neighbours and friends. This includes socially isolated seniors; people with chronic, underlying health conditions, including mental health conditions that put them at greater risk; people that may have low income; and people who experience barriers to mobility.
In addition to Vancouver Coastal Health, the City is working in partnership with community organizations, like neighbourhood houses, urban Indigenous organizations, peer networks, and NPOs, to help connect those susceptible to heat to critical information and supports.
Some of the work underway includes identifying opportunities for transportation, wellness checks, distribution of information in multiple languages, and other initiatives to connect people who are disproportionately impacted by heat with key resources. This also includes housing, health and community partnerships to address the intersecting risks for SRO tenants during heat events and ensure equity of access to support for at-risk tenants in private, non-profit, and government-owned SROs.
By providing the tips and services people need during a potential extreme heat event, the City is hopeful that everyone will be able to enjoy a safe summer season.
For the most up-to-date information on services the City of Vancouver provides during an extreme heat event, please visit: Vancouver.ca/hotweather.
For more information on health and safety tips during the summer season, visit the Vancouver Coastal Health website.