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Prepare for elevated temperatures, heat warnings

VICTORIA – People throughout British Columbia are encouraged to be prepared for heat as many regions of the province experience elevated temperatures and heat warnings.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued heat warnings for Fort Nelson and southern Fraser Canyon, including Lytton, as well as the inland sections of the central and north coasts, including Kitimat and Terrace. While temperatures in most regions are forecast to gradually moderate, temperatures will peak the weekend of July 7-9, 2023, for the Interior and Peace regions and remain above seasonable temperatures through early next week. Heat warnings may expand to other regions of the province.

An extreme heat emergency is not forecasted at this time. People are encouraged to frequently monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

A higher risk of heat-related illness is associated with increasing temperatures, and it is crucial people have a heat plan to stay safe. A heat plan should identify cool zones inside and outside of homes, such as cooling centres, community centres, libraries and appropriate outdoor settings.

During a heat warning or extreme heat emergency, the Province reimburses eligible costs to First Nations and local authorities so they can open cooling centres. The funding may also be used to transport people to and from cooling centres. First Nations and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information about where people can access a community cooling centre.

A map with cooling centres across B.C. is available online at EmergencyInfoBC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

Heat plans should also identify ways to cool down, such as applying cool cloths or taking showers and drinking plenty of water. Swimming in bodies of water, such as lakes, can be a good way to cool down and should be done cautiously as prolonged periods of exposure to cool water can cause hypothermia. People are encouraged to identify vulnerable family members and neighbours who are susceptible to heat who should be checked on as part of their heat plans.

Take steps to keep children safe during the heat. Prevent falls from open windows by watching children closely and taking preventative action, such as moving household items like step stools away from windows. Never leave children or pets in a parked car.

The province’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide has information to help people prepare for heat and tips about how to stay safe. The guide is available in French, Punjabi, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

With elevated temperatures, the risk of heat-related illnesses increases. The most concerning heat illnesses include heat stroke and heat exhaustion, which can come on rapidly. Watch for symptoms of heat illness, such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, confusion, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.

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