Montreal heat wave prompts more calls to Urgences-Santé

More frequent heat waves are likely to occur across Canada with a warming climate. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The heat wave in Montreal has prompted Urgences-Santé to respond to more calls than usual this weekend.

READ MORE: Scorching heat wave continues on moving day for thousands of Montrealers

“Yesterday, we responded to 1,200 calls — 200 more than normal,” Benoit Garneau, operations chief, told Global News.

“Thirty of these calls were directly related to the heat wave. Probably more were indirectly related.”

Garneau said many of the calls were from people showing signs of heat stroke, including symptoms like dizziness, fainting and exhaustion.

READ MORE: Heat warnings issued by Environment Canada, MLHU ahead of sweltering long weekend

Urgences-Santé says it has been preparing for the heat wave for at least a week.

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“We have more staff on the road, such as paramedics, more dispatchers inside to take the calls,” Garneau told Global News.

“It’s the third day [of the heat wave], so I think it’s going to be a big one because of the weather.”

Signs of heat stroke and what to do

Early signs of heat stroke include fatigue, difficulty concentrating and dizziness.

READ MORE: By 2100, 75% of the world’s population will face deadly heatwaves

Here are a few ways to avoid getting ill:

  • Drink plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty,
  • Limit alcohol intake,
  • Stay in the shade when possible,
  • Cut back on activities that require effort,
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen,
  • Wear lightweight clothing preferably in cotton to allow sweat evaporation,
  • Elderly people should avoid going out, especially if they are on medication.

If you think you are suffering from heat-related illness:

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  • Seek shelter or a cool place, rest and drink water,
  • If possible, use a fan to create air movement,
  • Use blinds or shades to filter direct sunlight.

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