The District of Sooke is ramping up its communications efforts with residents to inform them of extreme heat dangers this summer.
The B.C. Coroners Service reported 719 sudden deaths during last summer’s heat wave, triple the number that would typically be expected in the province in a week.
The heat wave affected Sooke, too, forcing the opening of cooling off centres.
The district’s extreme weather plan for this season includes public education on preparing and about available cooling areas, such as SEAPARC and the public library.
“Preparedness is the primary approach for any emergency, including heat-related events,” said Christina Moog, a district spokesperson. “A great local resource to help residents become more prepared is the district’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) team.”
This month the ESS launches summer visits to the Sooke Country Market and the Sooke Night Market. The ESS team is at the Sooke Night Market, on the grounds of the Sooke Region Museum, on June 16, July 7, July 28, Aug. 18, Sept. 8, and Sept. 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. and the Sooke Country Market next to Municipal Hall, June 18, July 9, July 30, Aug. 20, Sept. 10 and Oct. 1.
An extreme heat emergency is identified when daytime and overnight temperatures are higher than seasonal norms and get hotter every day.
Information on extreme hot weather planning is also available on the Prepared BC website.
HealthLink BC has these tips for keeping cool and healthy:
• Drink plenty of fluids. Drink extra water even before you feel thirsty and if you are active on a hot day.
• Keep cool. Stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings, or take a cool bath or shower. At temperatures above 30 C, fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness.
• Plan activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.
• Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour.
• Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.
• Never leave children alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52 C within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C.
• Regularly check older adults, children, and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they keep cool and drink plenty of fluids. Check on those who cannot leave their homes and people with emotional or mental health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.
• Heat also affects pets. Never leave a pet in a parked car. Limit pets’ exercise, and provide them with plenty of water and shade.