Heatwave causes B.C. officials to take extra public safety measures

WatchOfficials warn people to stay cool and ensure the vulnerable are protected from the heat

With the south coast of British Columbia facing its second heat wave of the summer officials, are urging people to stay cool and to look out for the vulnerable.

With tourists flocking to Vancouver Island and other parts of the province, and with conditions remaining very dry, officials say it’s extremely important to be vigilant.

With the temperature rising to 30 degrees celsius in Nanaimo by 12 p.m. Friday, parents were flocking to waterparks and lakes to cool down.

“It’s pretty crazy and Nanaimo gets so hot later in the day too we just try and spend our mornings at home and get everything ready for the day and then just head out for the afternoon and stay as close to the water as we can,” said Mariko Brown, a Nanaimo resident and mother of two.

Environment Canada is warning East Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Southern Gulf Islands that residents will see temperatures above 30 degrees Friday and Saturday with nighttime lows only dropping to 16 degrees.

It will make sleeping at night more of a challenge for those without air conditioning.

“Oh yes, it is. We have just lots of fans in the rooms and that’s all you can really do,” said Courtnay Soderberg, a Gabriola Island resident.

The Coastal Fire Centre says while Vancouver Island has no wildfires right now it’s important not to become complacent as the hot and dry spell continues.

“We haven’t had any precipitation in the Coastal Fire Centre in the southern regions for at least 45 days so that’s very alarming,” said Marg Drysdale, a spokesperson for the Coastal Fire Centre.

The last heat wave saw more than 500 presumed heat-related deaths, which led to the provincial government warning the public today to take precautions, especially in light of the smoke affecting many parts of the province.

“People should plan ahead. Find out how you can spend time in a cool or airconditioned place. While heat can harm anyone older adults and children under five are particularly vulnerable to a heatwave,” said Mike Farnworth, BC’s Minister of Public Safety.

BC’s Health Minister says the numbers of people working at 9-1-1 and 8-11 dispatch services along with hospitals have been bolstered this weekend while some rural paramedics have been redeployed to higher-demand areas.

“We’re truly all hands on deck to be there when you need help and you can join in this effort by taking caution and reaching out to people in your circles to remind them to keep cool and seek clean air,” said Adrian Dix.

The Coastal Fire Centre says there may also be lightning this weekend which could lead to more fires. They’re asking people to report any fires as soon as possible.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!