Editorial: Sun can still be deadly even at mid-20s C

Don’t be foolish.

We may not be experiencing the heat wave that is hitting Montreal and eastern Canada, but it can still be a killer if people aren’t careful.

With temperatures in the high 30 C range in Toronto and Montreal, and the humidex making it feel in the 40 C range, those on Vancouver Island might be forgiven for gloating a little over our beautiful mid-20 C weather this week. And even the rainy but relatively nice high teens we had in Junuary before that (at least it saved a bit of watering of the garden).

But there are serious consequences when the mercury reaches that high, and nobody is gloating over that. In Montreal and the Eastern Townships on Thursday afternoon at least 18 deaths were being blamed on the heat. People with only mild symptoms were being asked not to phone for an ambulance, the service is so overwhelmed. Though the areas in question are used to hotter summers than we generally experience here on Vancouver Island, many still do not have air conditioning, and when the temperature soars to this level there is little escape.

And while it’s true that our temperatures have reached nowhere near theirs, it can still be dangerous for those who take for granted that when outdoors under most circumstances, we are nowhere near the danger zone. Because inside a vehicle, in particular, the sun shining through the windows can have the thermometer near the breaking point in very short order.

It seems no matter how many times people have been warned in the past not to leave children or pets alone trapped in hot cars, they still roll the dice.

In Delta during the Canada Day weekend two children had to be rescued and were in rough shape after being left in a car at Tsawwassen Mills. Charges are pending. And that’s a relatively happy ending.

We here have much more of a choice whether or not to swelter under the sun. Don’t be foolish.

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