Heat wave: 13 calls for wellness checks but no deaths in past 48 hours, say Kelowna RCMP

Despite the good news out of Kelowna, Kamloops RCMP said there have been six sudden deaths since last Friday. File / Global News

Police in Kelowna say despite record temperatures that are scorching B.C.’s Interior this week, regional officers have responded to zero sudden deaths in the past 48 hours.

Following a request by Global News on Tuesday, Kelowna RCMP announced Wednesday morning that they did receive 13 calls for wellness checks related to the extreme weather conditions.

The good news out of Kelowna was in contrast to Burnaby, where police in that community announced Tuesday that more than two dozen people had died in the past 24 hours, with the heat wave believed to be a contributing factor.

Burnaby RCMP said officers have responded to more than 25 sudden-death calls, with many of the deceased being seniors.

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Click to play video: 'Possible heat-related deaths soar during B.C. heat wave'
Possible heat-related deaths soar during B.C. heat wave

And two hours north of Kelowna, police in Kamloops announced that since last Friday, there have been six deaths.

“This number has doubled compared to the same period of last year,” said Kamloops RCMP.

“The cause and manner of these deaths are being determined by the BC Coroners Service who will also conclude whether or not the death was heat-related.”

Kamloops RCMP also said it has received 43 calls to check the well-being of individuals and some were directly related to the hot weather conditions.

Last year at this time, Kamloops RCMP said it received 34 calls for wellness checks.

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Click to play video: 'Heat wave overwhelms emergency responders'
Heat wave overwhelms emergency responders

In related news, B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) said there’s been a spike in heat-related 911 calls during the heat wave.

According to BCEHS, and across B.C.:

Friday, June 25, to Monday morning, June 28:

  • Paramedics responded to 187 calls for heat exhaustion and 52 calls for heatstroke.

Sunday, June 27

  • BCEHS responded to 107 calls for heat exhaustion and 32 calls for heatstroke.

Monday, June 28

  • BCEHS responded to 168 calls for heat exhaustion and 80 calls for heatstroke.

Tuesday, June 29

  • BCEHS responded to 123 calls for heat exhaustion and 64 calls for heatstroke.
Click to play video: 'Health Matters: How your medication can increase your risk in the heat'
Health Matters: How your medication can increase your risk in the heat

For comparison, in June 2020, BCEHS said it responded to 14 heat-related calls total.

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So far in June 2021, that number sits at 730 calls.

The Interior Health Authority has seen 122 heat-related calls in June to date.

  • June 25: 5
  • June 26: 11
  • June 27: 12
  • June 28: 27
  • June 29: 38

Heat-related calls for June in Okanagan communities:

  • Kelowna: 28
  • Penticton: 6
  • Vernon: 7

BCEHS noted that on June 28, paramedics responded to 1,975 patient events — the highest ever ambulance call volume day for B.C.

“Whether we’re in the midst of a heat wave or not, it’s important to remember that paramedics must necessarily attend to the most critical, life-threatening calls first,” said BCEHS.

“This is the nature of an emergency service and it means that sometimes, other, less time-critical calls, may take longer to receive an ambulance response.”

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