Stay cool and hydrated: City of Vancouver lays out response plan for hot weather

Three days into summer and the temperature is rising. The City of Vancouver has laid out its plan for how it hopes to deal with this summer's expected hot weather. Last year's heat dome was blamed for more than 600 deaths in B.C. As Andrea Macpherson reports, steps are being taken to ensure that doesn't happen again. Chief meteorologist Mark Mardryga also has the latest forecast.

With the hot weather arriving for Metro Vancouver over the next few days, the City of Vancouver is taking steps to make sure cooling opportunities are available for residents.

The city said it will be operating cooling centres in community centres and libraries as well as offering more access to drinking water at fountains and bottle-filling stations, and staff will be monitoring outdoor spaces for those affected by the heat and looking out for residents who are at risk of heat-related impacts.

Everyone is advised that hot weather can cause illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If someone is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, they need to cool down. For anyone experiencing heat stroke, they need to call 911.

Everyone is also advised to spend time in air-conditioned spaces or visit public cooling centres. 

People should check on family members, neighbours and friends, especially those with chronic, underlying health conditions, including mental health conditions that put them at greater risk; people that may have low income; and people who experience barriers to mobility, the city said.

“We’ve been having constant briefings from our city management team, we learned a lot from last year’s tragedy, so this has been a top priority for our city, working with the provincial and federal governments to make sure we are ready for anything that comes our way this summer,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.

“So first of all, communications is a core part of it, so working with the province and the feds to make sure we can alert people if there is weather coming they should be aware of. Also, lots of capital investments in cooling stations so there’s more places for people to go, we’ll have water misters, more portable fountains, but the main thing is working with the agencies across this city, those folks that at are working in single-room occupancy hotels, making sure that we’re as ready as we can be, but also constantly monitoring throughout the summer to make sure we’ve got it right.”

Read more:

‘First hot stretch of summer’ — Incoming B.C. weather will see mercury reach low-to-mid 30s

The City of Vancouver said it is also working with community organizations such as neighbourhood houses, urban Indigenous organizations, peer networks and NPOs to help connect those susceptible to heat to access critical information and support.

This includes identifying opportunities for transportation, wellness checks, distribution of information in multiple languages, and other initiatives to connect people who are disproportionately impacted by heat with key resources.

Billing it as the first hot stretch of summer for the province, Environment Canada says the weather system will first hit eastern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland on Friday before moving inland.

The only areas not under a special weather statement for hot weather are western Vancouver Island, the Central and North Coast, Haida Gwaii and areas bordering the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

—with files from Doyle Potenteau

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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