Extreme Heat

Although BC's South Coast does not typically experience the same extreme summer heat as other regions of Canada, our summer temperatures can climb to dangerous highs. We have two levels of heat alerts:

  • Heat Warning: Daytime and overnight temperatures are higher than seasonal norms and holding steady
  • Extreme Heat Emergency: Daytime and overnight temperatures are higher than seasonal norms and getting hotter every day

Extreme heat events (or 'heat waves') are complex health emergencies. The more protective measures you take, the safer you'll be – especially important if you have one or more risk factors. For more information on heat-related illness, please call BC HealthLink at 811, or visit preparedbc.ca/ExtremeHeat.

Preparing for Extreme Heat

To prepare for an extreme heat event, you can do the following if possible:

  • Stock up on supplies to keep you comfortable in advance while stores have stock: indoor thermometer, spray bottle, small towels, ice trays, portable umbrella, sunhat
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers
  • If you have air-conditioning, check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation and snug fit
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in and hot air out
  • Ensure that your at-risk family members, friends, and neighbours are aware of the risks associated with extreme heat
  • If you're at-risk, ask someone for extra help in advance of the heat, so they can check in on you, take you somewhere to cool down, or help with cooling measures in your home
  • Download the Alertable (North Shore Emergency Management (NSEM)) and WeatherCan (Environment Canada) apps

Where to Cool Down in the City

We have ways to keep help you stay cool!

>> View a map of all North Shore public cooling spaces

Outdoor Misting Stations 

Outdoor misting cooling stations are open at the following locations. Some of these are installed at the location, and some are temporarily in place during warm weather. See if you can visit every one!

Stay Hydrated

Spray Parks

Seek Cool Spaces

Tips for Dealing With Heat

Dress for Summer

Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing, ideally in light colours so it reflects heat and sunlight. Add a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (SPF 30+) if heading outdoors. Take it next level by wearing a wet shirt or applying damp towels to your skin.

Cool Down

Go to cooler indoor and outdoor spaces like tree-shaded areas, splash park, shower/bath, or air-conditioned public spaces (e.g. shopping malls, movie theatres, libraries, grocery stores, recreation centres). Take a cool or tepid shower, or put your feet into a cool bath. Find other ways to stay cool under Where to Cool Down in the City on this page. 

Keep it Cool Inside

Close windows and pull indoor/outdoor shades/blinds around 10am to trap the cooler air inside and block the sun. In the evening, once the outdoor temperature is lower than indoors, open windows and doors to let the cooler overnight air in, and use fans strategically to help move cooler air into the home and exhaust fans (i.e. kitchen, bathrooms) to move warmer indoor air to the outside. Note that electric fans won't prevent heat-related illness when the temperature climbs above 35 degrees Celsius, especially in the elderly. 

Check On Others

Make sure your family, neighbours, friends - especially those who are more vulnerable - are doing okay. Check on them a couple times daily, stop by and take them out for a cooling break, and be sure they're staying hydrated.

Take It Easy

Strenuous activities should be reduced or eliminated during the hottest hours (typically 2-6pm), and rescheduled to cooler times of the day. If working outside in the heat, monitor coworkers and have them do the same for you. 

Get Wet

Stop by The Shipyards or Mahon splash parks, or head down to the beach for a swim - but remember your sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and don't spend too long under the scorching sun.

Live in the Shadows

Try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Walk leisurely along a forested trail or find a large-canopied tree to sit under with a good book.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure that you drink plenty of cold, alcohol-free, caffeine-free, and sugar-free liquids. Persons who have epilepsy, heart/kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets, or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. View the City map of water fountains or download the TapMap app for Metro Vancouver.

Watch for Heat-Related Illness

Too much heat is a health risk. Learn more at HealthLink BC - Heat-Related Illness.

 
Tips to beat the heat
 

Coping with Poor Air Quality

Increased temperatures are often accompanied by worsening air quality. Smog is a visible example of air pollution and smog levels increase during the hottest months. Air pollution can be a serious health issue.

Air pollution can contribute to negative health effects ranging from increased respiratory symptoms to hospitalizations and premature deaths. According to health researchers, children, the elderly and people with a pre-existing cardiac or respiratory illness are most at risk. As the air quality deteriorates, consider reducing, rescheduling, or avoiding strenuous outdoor activities, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing or throat irritation.

Check the BC Air Quality Health Index for current air quality conditions.

Extreme Heat & Pets

Extreme heat events are just as hard on our animal loved ones as they are on people. Here are some tips to help your critters beat the heat and remain happy, healthy, and alive.

Paws & Pavement

Dogs actually sweat through their paws, so walking on hot pavement has a big impact, especially on darker asphalt. Check if it's too hot for your dog by placing your hand on the pavement and seeing if you can keep it there comfortably for 10 seconds; if you can't, it's too hot for paws.

Downtime

During the hottest part of the day, make sure that your pet is resting comfortably in a cool part of the house with no exposure to direct sunlight. Conversely, don't walk or exercise your pet during the hottest times of the day. Just like people, extreme heat can be harmful or even fatal to our pets if they are overly exposed or pushed too hard.

Hydration

It's vital to ensure that your pet has constant access to cool water. Dehydration can set in quickly if insufficient water is provided.

Like Master Like Pet

Just like people, pets can suffer, and even die, from many of the same heat-related illnesses, the most serious of which is heat stroke, but just like people, heat-related deaths and illnesses in pets can be 100% preventable if precautions are taken.

Leave Your Pets at Home

The temperature inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels within minutes during an extreme heat event. Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle and do not be fooled into thinking that leaving the window cracked will help. It won't. Learn more about dogs in cars from the BC SPCA.

 

Fire Prevention in Dry Weather

All person-caused wildfires are preventable. Person-caused wildfires are those related to abandoned campfires, smoking, logging, railroads, brush or range burns, construction, recreation and arson.

  • Campfires may be banned. Please check here for BC Wildfire Status or BC Parks Fire Restrictions for more information.
  • Do not discard smoking materials from vehicles, use interior ashtrays.
  • Lawn & farm equipment should have properly working spark arresters to prevent sparks from exiting through the exhaust pipes.
  • All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) produce an enormous amount of heat and can ignite brush from their exhaust systems.
  • Water restrictions are in place. For more information, visit Sprinkling Regulations.

For more information on fire prevention, visit the Fire Department section of the website at cnv.org/Fire.


Get Help & Information

If you require emergency services, call 9-1-1 for police, fire and ambulance assistance.

The links below also provide specific information on dealing with heat.

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