Hot temperatures are expected in Edmonton for the next couple of days and with that, the city has activated its extreme weather response.
Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Edmonton and much of the province on Wednesday.
The weather agency said daily high temperatures of nearly 30 C combined with overnight lows in the mid- to high-teens are expected Thursday and Friday in the Edmonton area.
The city said it activated its extreme weather response at 8 a.m. Thursday. The key goal is to ensure people avoid dehydration.
Peace officers will be carrying water bottles to hand out to vulnerable people they meet throughout the day. Anyone who sees someone in distress due to the extreme heat can call 211 and press 3 for the 24/7 Crisis Diversion team.
Anyone in need of a break from the heat can go to an open city facility or library.
The following spaces have planned to offer access and water bottles:
- Kinsmen Sports Centre
- Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre
- Clareview Community Recreation Centre
- Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre
- The Meadows Community Recreation Centre
- Londonderry Fitness and Leisure Centre
- The Orange Hub
- Mill Woods Recreation Centre
The following facilities do not have enough indoor space to accommodate people but will be able to provide bottled water:
- Fred Broadstock pool
- Queen Elizabeth outdoor pool
- Oliver outdoor pool
- Borden Natural Swimming Pool
- Bonnie Doon Leisure Centre
- Jasper Place Leisure Centre
- Muttart Conservatory
- Edmonton Valley Zoo
The city has also modified 15 fire hydrants throughout the city to act as water bottle filling stations. The locations include:
- Central McDougall and Queen Mary Park (109 Avenue and 107 Street)
- Kinistinaw Park (102 Avenue and 96 Street)
- Boyle Street Community Services (105 Avenue and 102 Street)
- Bissell Centre (96 Street and 105 Avenue)
- Sheriff Robertson Park (82 Street and 112 Avenue)
- Paul Kane park area (103 Avenue and between 122 and 123 Street)
- Butler Park
- Callingwood Park
- McIntyre Park/Old Strathcona Farmers Market
- Mill Woods Transit Station
- Parkdale Plaza (118 Avenue and 82 Street)
- Clareview Transit Station
- Mosaic Centre (65 Street and 132 Avenue)
- Niginan Housing Ventures (12340 Fort Road)
- Beverly Heights ( 118 Avenue between 43 and 44 Street)
There are also 24 additional water bottle filling stations throughout LRT and transit centres.
Take the heat seriously, emergency physician warns
When it comes to extreme heat like this, physicians say people need to take it seriously — whether they’re spending time inside or outside.
“Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, the danger is the same,” explained Dr. Louis Fransescutti, an emergency physician and professor at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health.
“The trouble with being indoors is that you can be lulled into a false sense of security, especially if you’re sort of bound to your apartment or your house. You’re housebound, you use a walker, you can’t get around. You’ve got pre-existing conditions like diabetes or respiratory conditions like emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
For those indoors, Francescutti also warned people not to rely too heavily on fans.
“Don’t be deceived by fans. Fans can only work to a certain amount. If the unit that they’re living in is hot, a fan just basically moves hot air around so don’t get a false sense of security from fans,” Francescutti said.
The physician said the most important thing to do is to stay hydrated. You know you’re well hydrated if you’re taking frequent trips to the washroom.
“Make sure you’re peeing enough. Sorry to sound so crass, but if you’re peeing it usually means you’re well hydrated. And the other thing is: dress appropriately. Dress in very, very thin layers.”
While young, healthy people can typically deal with hot temperatures like this, Francescutti said it’s also very important for people to check on others who live alone, who are elderly or very young children, and who have pre-existing conditions that may make them more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Signs of heat exhaustion can include dehydration, loss of appetite, confusion, nausea, vomiting, headaches and stomach cramps. Heat stroke is more severe,
“People confuse heat stroke with heat exhaustion, but heat stroke is reserved for people that are going to die, you know, within 30 minutes if they don’t get proper care,” Francescutti said.
The city’s extreme weather response is set to end at 8 a.m. Monday, but could be extended if the forecast changes.
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