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. (Shutterstock)

Okanagan heat warning prompts tips to stay cool

Environment Canada forecasting highs of 37

As the mercury rises to concerning levels this week, all residents, businesses and visitors are reminded to take steps to care for the health of yourself and loved ones.

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Okanagan Valley, including Vernon. Over the next several days, daytime highs are forecast in the range of 35 to 37 degrees Celsius with overnight lows expected to be 18.

“The city is closely monitoring the forecast and is working with community partners in proactively planning practical ways to assist those who may be more vulnerable or negatively impacted by the prolonged increased temperatures; however, residents are urged to plan ahead and be prepared,” the City of Vernon said.

Interior Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control recommend watching yourself and others for signs of heat-related illness and to take specific steps to stay cool and hydrated, including:

• Drink water regularly, before you start to feel thirsty

• Seek shade or cool indoor locations, avoid direct mid-day sun

• Wear loose protective clothing and a hat, sunscreen and UV-protective eyewear

• Plan your outdoor activity before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m., to avoid the most intense sun, and take it slow with plenty of rest breaks

• Never leave people or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise rapidly and become much hotter than the outside temperature

• Cover windows during the day and open them in the evening if you can get a breeze through your home

• Use air conditioning (if available) to take the edge off the heat, but be careful not to over-cool your space

• If you don’t have air conditioning, seek shelter in the coolest room of your home and use a fan

• Regularly check on relatives, friends and neighbours to see how they’re doing; particularly older adults, infants and children, those doing a lot of physical activity or working outside, and those with underlying health conditions

“If you are planning to spend time outside, remember to check the forecast, be prepared with safety items and plenty of water, and pay very close attention to your activities and the surrounding area,” the city said.

With increased temperatures, the threat of wildfire can also change quickly. If you see a wildfire, call the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. If you see smoke or fire within Vernon, call 911 immediately.

READ MORE: ‘Careless’ actions spark Kal Park fire, Coldstream crews investigating

READ MORE: Vernon cools down with pop-up spray park opening


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