With thermometer-busting heat across southern Manitoba in recent days — and more to come — the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is urging Winnipeggers to stay safe.
“Any time we get heat like this, we are going to see some increases in terms of calls for heat or dehydration and things of that nature,” WFPS assistant chief Jay Shaw told 680 CJOB.
“I want people to make sure they’re taking care of their pets and I also want people to check on their neighbours.
“What we want to know in terms of the risks, is who are most vulnerable? It’s older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, individuals experiencing homelessness… and those that maybe economically don’t have the ability to be able to afford air conditioning…”
Shaw said the city is working with stakeholders like End Homelessness Winnipeg to make the local homeless population doesn’t succumb to the heat.
“It’s concerning. What the City of Winnipeg does is we have a heat plan and a strategy where we work with all of our stakeholders,” he said.
“If there’s a need for the city to be able to assist them with buildings or infrastructure or anything like that, the city would step up.”
“People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to health impacts of extreme hot weather,” according to End Homelessness Winnipeg’s extreme heat response plan.
“They can be at high risk because they are likely to spend long periods of time outside, and have less access to indoor spaces to cool off, resulting in increased exposure.
“Many problems faced by people experiencing homelessness, including inadequate clothing, lack of shelter from the sun, or malnutrition, can increase the risk of extreme hot weather injuries.”
Shaw said conditions like heat edema, heatstroke and heat exhaustion are very serious conditions, and Winnipeggers should take it easy if they’re outside in these 30 C+ temperatures.
“Slow down. When it’s hot like this, you cannot expect your body to go through the same physical exertion that you normally would put your body through if you’re working outside or being outside,” he said.
“It’s not just the temperature during the daytime, it’s how low does the temperature go at night. Cities are concrete jungles, so if the city doesn’t get below 16 C at nighttime, the city doesn’t really get a chance to reset, to release that heat.”
Shaw said the city has looked at heat waves in the U.S. and Europe as examples of ‘catastrophic’ effects if not managed properly and said he’s looking forward to a shift in the weather later this week.
“It does look like in a day or two we’re going to get some thunderstorms,” he said.