Beach walkers on Sequim Bay on the North Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Beach walkers on Sequim Bay on the North Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

B.C. hospitals, ambulances gear up for weekend hot weather

Use blinds, fans, wet towels to keep cool indoors, experts say

Environment Canada’s heat warning extends into the long weekend, and B.C. health and public safety officials are emphasizing precautions and checking in with older people who may be isolated.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said ambulance and hospital staff have prepared to handle additional 9-1-1 calls for people with heat-related health issues, after additional resources were added in the wake of an intense heat wave at the end of June.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said community cooling centres are established, and working with communities where people have been evacuated from forest fires. A change in weather during the B.C. Day long weekend is expected to bring cooler temperatures and rain to the southern Interior, moving smoke out of areas that have suffered poor air quality in recent weeks.

Some of that smoke may shift to the Lower Mainland as the weather changes, said Dr. Sarah Henderson of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. She suggested people wear an N-95 respirator mask while outside in smoky conditions, and to limit outdoor exertion.

Heat advice is available from Fraser Health, other health authorities and local governments.

Henderson urged people to check in on people who live alone, especially seniors, and ask them specific questions about how they are handling hot weather. What is the temperature on the thermostat? Are they drinking lots of water? Are they urinating only small quantities, and is it dark in colour? That is a key sign of dehydration

Fans and moist towels chilled in the fridge or freezer can also help people keep cool, she said.

RELATED: Rain, clearing smoke ahead for southern Interior fire zones

RELATED: B.C. adding more paramedics, ambulances as calls surge


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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