Protecting Lethbridge’s vulnerable population a challenge during heat wave

Click to play video: 'Protecting Lethbridge’s vulnerable population a challenge during heat wave'
Protecting Lethbridge’s vulnerable population a challenge during heat wave
For most, cooling off can be as easy as finding a fan or getting a cold drink, but what about the city’s vulnerable? As Lethbridge continues to see temperatures into the thirties, Erik Bay tells us what local organizations are doing to lend a hand. – Jun 29, 2021

Amid heat as extreme as Alberta has been experiencing this week, Streets Alive Mission knows making sure Lethbridge’s vulnerable population stays hydrated is critical.

“In heat like this, you’re going to need litres of water and most aren’t going to get that,” Streets Alive client care specialist Anthony Small said.

Small loads up and hits the streets with coolers full of snacks, juice boxes and of course, water, to bring to Lethbridge people who need it.

“Anywhere there’s shade, we try to find them wherever they’re going to hide out,” Small said.

“Shade’s a really easy spot to find, treed areas. We’ve even gone down into the coulees for a bit, just for a quick rip to see if there’s anything.”

Story continues below advertisement

The specialists leave the mission at 9 a.m. and head to the city’s parks to offer some relief for those battling the heat.

“We know that we’ve got to be out. Very, very present — making sure the clients have water and lots of it,” Small said.

“I was going through about 150 (bottles) in the morning and the same in the afternoon.”

Meanwhile, spaces like the Lethbridge Public Library are opening their doors to give people a break from the elements.

Library CEO Terra Plato says while the library is still under COVID-19 protocols, the province lifted capacity restrictions to allow the building to become a cooling centre.

“You will be able to come into the building to sit down, cool off, get a drink or use the washrooms up until Friday,” Plato said.

“Of course, on Friday the building will be full open.”

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge officials expect power usage to increase over heat wave'
Lethbridge officials expect power usage to increase over heat wave

The library is closed on Canada Day, but Streets Alive will continue its work.

Story continues below advertisement

“If anybody knows the body on a hot day like this, especially with malnutrition, dehydration — it sets in,” Small said

With the intense heat expected to continue at least through the weekend, Streets Alive is looking for donations of water, juice boxes and snacks like granola bars.

“The more water we have, the more we can give,” Small said.

“So we can make sure Alpha House has the water. We can make sure that we’re bringing tons of water so that (the vulnerable) can make sure they have two litres a day.”

Sponsored content