Summer Heat Response Plan

Temperature change is a key factor driving increases in summer temperatures. Some population, such as the elderly, those living in social isolation, taking certain drugs, or living in impoverished circumstances, are more at risk of negative health impacts from heat events. Few studies in Canada or abroad have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of declared heat action plans. Nonetheless, in Montreal, strategies such as water distribution, hot day visits to socially isolated people and moving care facility patients to air-conditioned rooms, and monitoring workers in warm environments, have been effective in lowering the number of heat related deaths on extremely hot days.

Humidex is an index that describes how hot or humid weather feels to the average person. It is only used when the temperature is over 30 degrees C. The humidex combines the temperature and humidity into one number. A humidex of 40 with a temperature of 30-degrees means that the humidex on that day, combined with the 30-degree temperatures will feel like 40-degrees on a dry day.

What to do when there is extreme heat:

  1. Slow down, your body can’t do its best in high temperatures
  2. Get out of the heat and into a cooler place as soon as you begin to feel too warm
  3. Drink plenty of water to keep your body from dehydrating.
  4. Maintain salt levels in your body. If you’re on a salt-free diet, check with your doctor.
  5. Avoid high protein foods. They increase your body’s water loss and heat production.
  6. Dress appropriately in lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  7. Avoid getting sunburned, it restricts the body’s cooling system.

Environment Canada monitors the weather 24 hours a day, every day of the year. If a severe storm is on the way or severe weather, the weather service uses the local media and Environment Canada’s Weather radio to alert the public. They have two basic types of alerts:

A Weather Watch is provided when conditions are favorable for a severe storm to develop. These are usually issued early in the day. It is a good idea to pay attention to the weather and listen to the radio or TV for up-dated information.

A Weather Warning means that severe weather is happening or that severe weather conditions are very likely. 

Procedure:

Once Environment Canada has issued a watch, EMO Coordinator will alert EMO Team to be on by stand and wait for further directions. If Environment Canada has issued a warning, EMO Coordinator will contact EMO Team and assemble to establish a heat alert activation. plan.

  • First step is for all agencies to check on vulnerable members of the community. (Public Health, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, etc.) It is important to promote the concept of neighbors looking after each other in a time of crisis. (Nursing Homes, Senior Homes, Group Homes, Low Income families with young children, new Canadians with language barriers, people living in low-income housing, etc.)
  • City of Estevan to issue media release on information about extreme heat preparedness and heat-illness symptoms as well as on their website under emergency responses.
  • Communication material should be prepared with the aid of public health authorities and distributed before and during extreme heat events. Update website with heat health messaging, including “look out for each other” and which medications might put people at greater risk of heat related complications.
  • During a heat emergency, notifications, including compounding factors such as power outages, water shortages or boil water advisories, or air quality alerts, should also be sent out to local media.
  • Outdoor workers should be alerted that they may be at higher risk for heat illness and be trained to monitor outdoor spaces for people experiencing heat-related illnesses.
  • Closely monitor heat-related morbidity and mortality, in conjunction with the Public Health
  • Activate heat plans for identified cooling facilities (Leisure Centre, Library, Affinity Place, etc. Salvation Army)
  • Extend hours of air-conditioned facilities where people are likely to seek heat relief
  • Provide portable water stations and/or distribute drinking water to vulnerable members
  • Modify or cancel scheduled sports and outdoor events such as daycares, summer camps, etc.
  • For members without transportation to the cooling facilities, plan with agency partners to transport vulnerable people to cooling facilities.
  • Cooling facilities can also be used as places for residents to access water.