With the third heat wave of summer arriving this week and expected to continue until Saturday, the B.C. government is again warning people to take precautions for themselves and their families, friends, and neighbours.
Environment Canada issued a heat warning on Tuesday, Aug. 10 and advised temperatures will increase from Aug. 12 to 15.
“Heat stress can pose an immediate danger to health,” said a B.C. government statement. “Symptoms of heat-related illness can include thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness and fainting or collapsing, including loss of consciousness.”
People without access to air conditioning are particularly vulnerable.
During the unprecedented heat wave that struck the province at the end of June and early July, when temperatures in Langley surged to more than 40° Celsius, hundreds of people across B.C. died suddenly, including eight in Langley. Most of the dead were seniors.
The province has released a list of recommendations, includijng:
• Conduct regular checks on vulnerable people – Individuals who live alone, particularly seniors, are at high risk of heat-related illness. Check in regularly to ensure they have no symptoms.
• If you identify signs of illness, assist in moving them to a cooler indoor or shaded space, support them in getting hydrated and seek medical assistance.
• If urgent medical support is required, call 9-1-1 without delay.
• Stay hydrated – Drink cool non-alcoholic beverages (preferably water) irrespective of your activity intake
• Keep pets and children cool – Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52°C (125°F) within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34°C (93°F).
• Access air conditioned spaces- Seek out an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre, restaurant, or a residence of friends or family).
Temperatures are expected to rise again in the next 24-48 hrs, lasting thru Sunday, Aug 15. We’re reaffirming that the health authorities, @BC_EHS and other services remain geared up and ready to help people through another heat wave. @mikefarnworthbc https://t.co/djNYjVqfNP
— Adrian Dix (@adriandix) August 11, 2021
In Langley, various locations including the Langley Seniors Resource Centre and the Gateway of Hope shelter have been offering indoor spaces where people can go to get out of the heat. Public libraries in Langley are also all air conditioned, and spray parks are open.
The provincial government has been encouraging water conservation, as the entire southern half of B.C. is under some level of drought conditions.
“All water users in affected areas need to reduce their water use wherever possible and observe all watering restrictions from their local/regional government, water utility provider or irrigation district,” said a statement from the Ministry of Forests and Lands.