Weather can change, develop quickly and hit hard, posing a threat to life and property. Since we cannot change the weather, taking precautions can reduce the impacts of these events.
With severe weather often comes a loss of power, so be prepared to be on your own for a minimum of 72 hours by developing a household preparedness plan, putting together your Emergency Kit and connecting with your neighbours.
For weather warnings visit Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia at Environment Canada.
- Avoid Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two common conditions that can present themselves, and even heat-related deaths are possible during periods of extreme heat.
- How to Prepare
- Visit Island Health Heat Safety, HealthLink BC and the Government of Canada's extreme heat page for information on heat safety.
- Consider purchasing or servicing air-conditioners.
- Install temporary window reflectors.
- Provide window coverings for windows that receive direct sunlight.
- Weather strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
- Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
- Know those in your neighbourhood who are elderly, young, sick or at greater risk. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help. Check out the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program.
- Review the Emergency Preparedness Workbook for general information on how to prepare.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit.
- During Extreme Heat
- Stay hydrated by drinking cool beverages (preferably water), even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
- Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle as temperatures can rise higher than 50 degrees Celsius.
- Limit the amount of time outdoors between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when the heat and sun are most intense. When outside, remain in the shade and use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more to avoid direct prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals. Avoid salt if possible.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Dress accordingly by wearing light coloured, loose fitting clothing that covers your skin and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shade your face.
- Avoid demanding physical work or exercise in the heat. If you do perform tasks that are exerting, drink plenty of extra fluids and know when to take a rest.
- Keep spray bottles full of cold water close by for a quick cool down.
- Cool showers and misting yourself and your clothing with cool water will help keep you from overheating.
- Keep your home cool by closing shades during the day, open windows at night and use an air conditioner if you have one.
- If you don’t have air-conditioning, take shelter in the coolest room in your home and use a fan. Blowing a fan across a pan of ice water can create a cool breeze.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is above 37 degrees Celsius, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or spending time in an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
- Take advantage of air-conditioned buildings such as malls, library, and community centres.
- After Extreme Heat
- Check in on others, especially those that suffer from heart, lung and kidney conditions. Also pay special attention to seniors, infants and pets as they may be at an increased risk of heat related illness.
- If you find anyone suffering from heat-related illness, move them to a shady location and call for medical assistance if required.
- Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
- Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature.
- Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloth or a towel to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition.
- If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
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