Local authorities and First Nations are implementing their heat response plans, including opening cooling centres in communities, following heat warnings throughout British Columbia.
Residents are encouraged to check with their municipality, regional district or First Nation for the most-up-to-date information.
As a strong ridge of high pressure pushes into B.C., Environment and Climate Change Canada has released heat warnings for multiple areas starting Monday, July 25, 2022. Forecasts predict hot and dry weather with high peak daytime temperatures expected for Wednesday through Friday, with a slow cooling trend predicted for the weekend of July 30-31.
While temperatures will rise, B.C. is not anticipating an extreme heat emergency comparable to summer 2021. However, British Columbians are encouraged to plan and prepare for high temperatures, including supporting family or friends who may be vulnerable to heat-related illness and monitoring Environment and Climate Change Canada for updates about heat warnings and temperature forecasts in their region.
Heat illness is associated with increasing temperatures. People are encouraged to monitor themselves for symptoms and should create a heat plan to keep safe. A heat plan should identify cool zones inside and outside of homes (such as community centres and libraries), ways to cool down (such as taking cool baths or showers and drinking plenty of water), and identify vulnerable family members and neighbours who are susceptible to heat and who should be checked on.
In June, the Province announced the BC Heat Alert and Response System to establish temperature ranges and actions taken by government and communities under heat warnings and extreme heat emergencies.
Under the BC Heat Alert and Response System, there are two categories of heat events: heat warnings and extreme heat emergencies. In the event of a heat warning or extreme heat emergency, the provincial government and local authorities will take appropriate actions based on their individual heat plans and processes.
For extreme heat emergencies, the Province is prepared to issue alerts through the national public alerting system, Alert Ready, which is used to issue Amber alerts and tsunami, wildfire and flood warnings.
The Province also released an Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide in June to help people prepare for extreme heat with tips on how to stay safe when temperatures rise. The guide is available in English, French, Punjabi, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.
- Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles) and heat cramps (muscle cramps).
- People should watch for symptoms, including dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, confusion, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.
- If someone experiences any of these symptoms during extreme heat, they should immediately move to a cool place, start cooling down and drink liquids.
- If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, immediately contact a health-care provider.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather alerts: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
HealthLink BC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/more/health-features/beat-heat
For more information about the BC Heat Alert and Response System: www.bccdc.ca/extremeheat