The number of annual days with scorching hot temperatures are expected to double within the next 30 years, according to Health Canada.
Many health risks are heightened when temperatures rise and, according to the federal health agency, homeless people and low-income earners are among those at greatest risk of negative heat impacts.
Those risks are on the radar of several community organizations in the Halifax Regional Municipality who are working together to reduce the negative health effects vulnerable populations face during the summer months.
“Being in the heat and not having any kind of protection on your head, on your skin and being dehydrated is very, very dangerous and is deadly for people who are dealing with that every single day,” Kathy McNab, the communications officer with Adsum for Women & Children.
McNab says several community groups have partnered in an Extreme Weather project that provides protection from harmful UV rays and hydration to those in need.
“The shelters, the Halifax Central Library, the soup kitchens, Souls Harbour, Hope Cottage, Margaret’s House in Dartmouth, Salvation Army Centre of House are just some of the places and we keep all of these items; water, sunscreen and hats stocked,” McNab said.
The Extreme Weather Project is an initiative that was run throughout the winter for many years, however, recent increases in temperatures during the summer months have led to the project being extended.
“When the weather got really hot last year, we had, I think, around eight days, that extreme weather was announced by Environment Canada and we had to react by keeping people who are homeless and out on the streets in and covered and hydrated for the summer. So, this year, we’re getting already the extreme heat temperatures,” McNab said.
The Halifax Public Libraries are reminding people that they provide a public space where people of all backgrounds and circumstances are welcome and in need of refuge from the elements.
“We have people who are looking to escape the heat because there are lots of people who don’t have somewhere to go in the summer time that’s going to be cool and we’re one place that they can go that is free and that they can stay all day if they want,” said McNab.
Adsum is looking for volunteer drivers who can help deliver supplies to their community partners.