Stay cool and stay safe in this weeks’ heatwave

It’s going to be a hot one this week: temperatures are going to get close to the record-setting ones we saw in June.

That’s why it’s so important to take precautions, check in on loved ones who may be vulnerable to the heat, and find ways to stay cool and safe – and maybe stock up on your favourite frozen treats.

Temperatures are expected to hit their peak on Thursday, August 12 and Friday, August 13, and temperatures in BC’s interior could reach 40 C for the third time this summer.There’s a heat warning in effect for Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria, and the south coast.

Extremely hot temperatures like the ones we’ll see this week can be dangerous. If you’re older, or immune-compromised, you might be at risk for heatstroke and other heat related illnesses. Fortunately there are things you can do to stay safe:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking before you feel thirsty
  • Limiting outdoor activity to the coolest times of the day
  • Sticking to shady/cool spots outdoors
  • Running fans or air conditioning indoors
  • Visiting a community cooling centre or public place like a mall, library or movie theatre (don’t forget your mask!)
  • Heeding air quality warnings and following advisories
  • Wearing a hat and plenty of sunscreen to avoid sunburns
  • Never leaving children or pets in parked cars, and limiting time spent out in the heat
  • Seeking medical attention if feeling unwell

It sounds like a lot, but don’t worry — you don’t have to do this alone.

Community leaders, local government officials and your BC NDP MLAs will be sharing tips and updates on social media with information on cooling centre openings or other services. Here’s a list of all our BC NDP MLAs on Twitter.

If you’re a senior and you need health-related assistance, please call healthlink BC at 811 or, if it is an emergency, call 911.

Heatwaves and wildfires: a dangerous mix

Heatwaves also make our beautiful wilderness more vulnerable to wildfires, and our province is already experiencing extremely dry conditions – despite the rain in some parts of the province on the weekend.

If you’re planning to travel, check government websites for fire bans and restrictions. Due to COVID-19 and wildfires, some communities may not be welcoming visitors right now. Know before you go!

After the last heatwave, our government stepped up to make sure emergency services are prepared.

Our BC NDP government is working hard to make sure people are safe during heatwaves, which are becoming more common due to climate change. Recently, changes have been made to the BC Ambulance Service and funding has been provided for 85 new full-time paramedics, 30 full-time emergency dispatchers, 22 new ambulances — and there are plans to convert rural ambulance stations to 24/7 stations.

Stay safe, cool and hydrated, and be sure to wear sunscreen outdoors.

Check in with loved ones, and don’t forget to make sure your pets are also kept cool and comfortable.

You can get more information on services available in your community, or tips on staying cool from HealthLinkBC. Stay safe, and cool, out there!