Our summers are getting hotter with more extremely hot days due to climate change. Extreme weather events are treated as emergencies by the District of Central Saanich, which will respond with a focus on providing aid to those who are most vulnerable.
When high temperatures are projected to reach 29 degrees or above, and low nighttime temperatures are forecasted to be 16 degrees or above for three days in a row, weather-based alerts are issued by Environment Canada. The District will activate its Extreme Heat Response Plan, open cooling facilities, and spray park using fire trucks if an extreme heat emergency is announced.
Follow these social media accounts as they will be used to inform citizens.
- Central Saanich Fire - Twitter
- District of Central Saanich - Twitter
- District of Central Saanich - Facebook
Sign up for the Saanich Peninsula Alert system
Extreme heat can put your health at risk. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. While extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for:
- Older adults
- Infants and young children
- People with chronic illnesses (like breathing problems, mental illness, and heart problems)
- People who work in the heat
- People who exercise in the heat
Help others in our community
Extreme weather emergencies primarily endanger seniors over age 65 and others who may have health issues or take certain mediations. You can help:
- Check on others if you can, especially those who live alone. You might save a life.
- Visit in-person so you can observe the symptoms of extreme weather stress.
- If you cannot visit, contact them by phone or video, but be aware that some people may say they feel fine even when they have some severe symptoms.
- Help anyone with symptoms by following the precautions, take them to a Warming/Cooling Centre, if possible.
Pay close attention to how you - and those around you - feel
Prepare your home
A few modifications to your home can make a big difference during periods of extreme heat. Pick and choose from the list below based on your needs. Even one or two things can help.
- Install a window air conditioner in at least one room
- Install thermal curtains or window coverings
- Keep digital thermometers available to accurately measure indoor temperatures (31 degrees or higher is dangerous for vulnerable people)
- Have fans available to help move cooler air indoors during the late evening and early morning hours
- Install a heat pump
If an Extreme Heat Emergency has been issued, it’s time to put your plan into action:
- Relocate to a cooler location if you have planned to do so
- Reconfigure the coolest location in your home so you can sleep there at night
- Check in with your pre-identified heat buddy. If you don’t have one, reach out
- Put up external window covers to block the sun if you can safely do so
- Close your curtains and blinds
- Ensure digital thermometers have batteries
- Make ice and prepare jugs of cool water
- Keep windows closed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Open them at 8 p.m. to allow cooler air in, and use fans (including kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans) to move cooler air through the house
Stay cool inside
- If you have air conditioning, turn it on. It does not need to be going full strength to help you stay safe
- If you have air conditioning, and friends and family do not, bring them to your home
- If you do not have air conditioning, move to your pre-identified alternate location with air conditioning or cooler spaces
- Sleep in the coolest room of your residence. If it’s cooler outside, sleep outside when feasible
- Sleep with a wet sheet or in a wet shirt
- Take cool baths or showers to draw heat from your body
- Drink plenty of water, regardless of whether you feel thirsty. Be aware that sugary or alcoholic drinks cause dehydration
- If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendation
- If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink when the weather is hot.
Stay cool outside
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car
- Lower your activity level
- If you must do errands, do them early or late in the day
- Avoid direct sun by staying in the shade and wearing a hat and protective clothing
- Use sunscreen and UV-protective eyewear
- Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors, such as large parks near to trees and water
- If you work in a hot environment, discuss and act on ways to decrease heat exposure with your employer and coworkers.
Pets: Make sure you have lots of fresh water for your pets and that they are in cool locations. Stay in shady areas and avoid asphalt and pavement; those surfaces can burn paws.
When you are getting too hot
Overheating can be harmful to your health and potentially deadly.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, such as rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine, take immediate steps to cool down and seek emergency care.
- Get medical attention or call 911
- Submerge yourself or the person you’re helping in cool water
- Remove clothes and apply wet cloths
Heat stroke is an emergency. Call 911 if you are caring for someone who displays symptoms, then take immediate action to cool them down while waiting for help to arrive.