British Columbians are being asked to take precautions this week as Environment Canada has issued another heat warning for most of the province, including the Cowichan Valley.
The extreme heat, which is forecast to be in the low 30s C during the day times in the Valley, is forecast to last from Wednesday, July 28 to Saturday, July 31.
“Extreme heat is dangerous and can have devastating and deadly consequences,” said Adrian Dix, minister of Health.
“Health authorities and BC Emergency Health Services are preparing to assist people in need during the heat wave. British Columbians must also make any necessary preparations ahead of time and take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”
Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said British Columbians should be vigilant, watch for warnings and take steps to stay safe during extreme heat.
“Follow health advice and call for emergency help if you need it,” Farnworth said.
Environment Canada notes the higher-than-normal temperatures will provide little relief at night, with elevated overnight temperatures, increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses.
“It is important to be aware of and follow the health guidelines provided to keep your body cool while temperatures outside rise,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
“This includes limiting physical activity outdoors, finding a cool, air-conditioned place and keeping hydrated, and taking extra care to check in with people most at risk, including infants and young children and older people.”
During heat alerts, the province works together with health authorities and local governments to take action to protect people and communities.
Health-authority declarations trigger responses in affected regions, including the opening of cooling centres by local authorities, focused action throughout the health-care system with targeted support for vulnerable British Columbians, including seniors, and support for local communities and First Nations through Emergency Management BC.
HealthLink BC also has a number of tips for keeping cool and healthy during heat waves
They include drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool by staying indoors in air-conditioned buildings or by taking a cool bath or shower.
At temperatures above 30 C, fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness.
People should plan to do their activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.
The public is also advised to wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.
People should never leave children or animals alone in a parked car as temperatures can rise to 52 C within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
Older adults, children and others with health conditions should be checked regularly for signs of heat-related illness, and they should be kept cool and drinking plenty of fluids.
People are advised to check on those who are unable to leave their homes and people with emotional or mental-health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.
Home treatment for mild heat exhaustion may include moving to a cooler environment, drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids, resting and taking a cool shower or bath.
If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, contact a health-care provider.
Elevated heat also increases the risk of wildfire, and British Columbians are urged to do their part to prevent human-caused wildfires and help keep communities safe.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.