With hot daytime temperatures expected to continue and a heat warning in place, Lake Country residents are encouraged to stay safe and cool. Living in the Central Okanagan, we are accustomed to hot sunny weather, but with sustained temperatures from 35 to 40 degrees C with little reprieve of cooler evening air temperatures, it is important to keep cool and stay aware.

 

Interior Health and Prepared BC recommend that residents:

  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated
  • Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day
  • Seek cooler indoor and outdoor spaces
  • If you have air conditioning, be sure to turn it on. (It does not need to be on as high as it can go to help keep you safe)
  • Take a cool shower or put part of your body into a tepid bath
  • Wear a wet shirt or apply damp towels to your skin to cool down
  • Remember that overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke

 

The District of Lake Country is also reminding members of our community to check in on neighbours, friends and loved ones frequently -- especially those who are more susceptible to heat illness -- to ensure they are prepared for extreme heat and to help with emergency plans. Lake Country Health and some local community associations and faith groups have taken the initiative to do wellness checks on individuals they are aware of that may be more vulnerable – you can too. 

 

Non-emergency wellness checks for Seniors living in the District of Lake Country can be arranged through Lake Country Health.  Seniors, their families and loved ones can contact Lake Country Health at 778.215.5247 or online at Contact | Lake Country Health to arrange a non-emergency wellness check and access additional services.

 

Places in Lake Country to stay cool

Residents may wish to cool down during the extended hours of operation at the Trethewey Splash Park at Swalwell Park (10090 Bottom Wood Lake Rd); or one of the Lake Country community or regional waterfront parks on Wood Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake.  Find a new park to explore at District of Lake Country Listings or search a swimming location at rdco.com/pickapark.

Residents and summer visitors can also take breaks by visiting air-conditioned spaces in the community such as Winfield Arena, Municipal Hall and the ORL Lake Country library branch, restaurants and shops.

 

Drop-in Cooling Opportunity Locations and Hours: 

Winfield Arena (9830 Bottom Wood Lake Road)

  • Monday – Friday  6:30am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 6:30am – 3:00pm

 

Okanagan Regional Library (10150 Bottom Wood Lake Road)

  • Monday  12:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday  10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Wednesday  10:00am – 8:00pm
  • Friday and Saturday  10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday  11:00am – 3:00pm

 

Municipal Hall foyer (10150 Bottom Wood Lake Road)

  • Monday – Friday  8:30am – 4:30pm

 

Swalwell Park – Trethewey Splash Park (10090 Bottom Wood Lake Road)

  • Daily  8:00am – 9:00pm

 

Residents with pets should also ensure they are safe during hot weather.  Please consider exercising when temperatures are cooler earlier in the morning or later each evening.  And never leave a pet inside an enclosed vehicle.

 

Free 24/7 potable water station – NEXUS activity hub/ Winfield Arena (9830 Bottom Wood Lake Rd). Bring your own bottle and fill it with fresh drinking water from the easily accessible water station in the east side of the parking lot.

 

 

Emergency Preparedness

At this time a heat warning has been issued. If temperatures continue to rise and an extreme heat emergency is declared, local governments will be supported in opening official cooling centres.

 

As part of emergency preparedness, it’s important for all Lake Country residents to have a plan for heat warnings and extreme heat emergencies (Prepared BC Emergency Guides) and to evaluate whether you can safely stay in your home during an extreme heat emergency (Note: prolonged exposure to temperatures over 31°C are dangerous for susceptible people; refer to the indoor temperature guide).

 

As of summer 2022, heat events in B.C. are classified into two categories (Heat Warning and Extreme Heat Emergency): 

  • A Heat Warning is when there is a moderate risk to public health with daytime and overnight temperatures higher than usual, but they are not getting hotter every day. If there is a Heat Warning, you should take steps to stay cool including staying hydrated and taking breaks from the heat. 

During heat warnings:
· Prolonged exposure to high indoor temperature can be life-threatening. Anyone without access to air conditioning should find cooler indoor alternatives to avoid prolonged heat exposure. If you have air conditioning and vulnerable members of your family do not, consider bringing them to your house.


· Sleep in the coolest room of the house, even if that is not your bedroom. Sleeping in the basement will provide relief to the body overnight.


· The body stores heat from the core to the skin. Sit in a cool bath to draw heat from the body into the water.


· Where it is safe and appropriate, open windows and doors when the outdoor temperature goes down below the indoor temperature a night, then close the cooler air indoors in the morning by shutting doors and windows and pulling curtains to keep the sun out. Leaving windows open during the day just lets the hot air indoors.


· Some of the people most susceptible to severe heat related illness and death may not realize they are getting too hot. Check on them in-person, observe their temperature indoors, and notice what it says on their thermostat. Persistent indoor temperatures over 30°C (86°F) can be high risk.

 

Who is most at risk?

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some people are at greater risk. Take extra care to check on the following people regularly:

· Infants and young children, who rely on adults to monitor their environments and to provide them with enough fluid to drink.
· People who are under-housed with fewer options to avoid prolonged heat exposure
· People 65 years or older, or anyone who needs assistance monitoring their well-being.
· People with heart problems and breathing difficulties.
· People who exercise or who work outside or in a hot environment.

 

Symptoms to watch for?

The symptoms of heat-related illness can range from mild to severe. They include:
· Pale, cool, moist skin
· Heavy sweating
· Muscle cramps
· Rash
· Swelling, especially hands and feet
· Fatigue and weakness
· Light headedness and/or fainting
· Headache
· Nausea and/or vomiting

More severe symptoms – including high fever, hallucinations, seizures and unconsciousness – require urgent medical attention. Call 911, move to a cool place, and cool the person with water and fanning.

 

What steps can people take to avoid heat related illness?

· Plan your outdoor activity before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to avoid the most intense sun.


· Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Water is the best choice.


· Avoid physical work or exercise outside in the heat of the day.


· If you must work or exercise outside, drink two to four cups of water each hour, even before you feel thirsty.


· Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.


· Apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, but remember this doesn’t protect from the heat.


· Stay in the shade, or create your own shade with lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing, a wide brimmed hat, and/or an umbrella.


· If you’re struggling to keep cool, move indoors to an air-conditioned building or take a cool bath or shower. At temperatures above 30°C (86°F), fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness.


· Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52° C (125° F) within 20minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34° C (93° F). Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.


· Regularly check older adults, infants and children, anyone under-housed with fewer options to avoid heat, those doing a lot of physical activity or working outside, and people with chronic disease or mental illness for signs of heat-related illness. Make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids. Check on those who are unable to leave their homes, and people whose judgment may be impaired.

 

 

  • An Extreme Heat Emergency is when it is dangerously hot and there is a high risk to public health. The daytime and overnight temperatures get hotter every day and are well above seasonal norms. Make sure you have access to cooler spaces and take steps to ensure you limit physical activity in the heat. Check on older or vulnerable people that you know to make sure they are adequately prepared for the potentially dangerous temperatures. 
    •  Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing illness such as heat stroke or even death. It is important to take steps to protect yourself, your family and other potentially vulnerable people in your life.

 

For weather alerts for the Okanagan Valley and beyond, visit weather.gc.ca/warnings.  

For health information, visit interiorhealth.ca/heat and the following resources on extreme heat preparedness: 

For emergency planning tips and resources, visit Interior Health or PreparedBC.