Jun 24, 2013
By Jane Brown
June 24, 2013
Heat Alert upgraded to Extreme Heat Alert in Toronto, cooling centres open
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Associate Medical Officer of Health, has upgraded the Heat Alert to an Extreme Heat Alert for today. The Extreme Heat Alert will be in effect until further notice.
During an Extreme Heat Alert, the public is encouraged to call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness, to make sure they are cool and drinking plenty of fluids. Other groups at risk include people with chronic illnesses, limited mobility and with certain mental health illnesses, infants and young children, people on certain medications and those who are homeless.
In addition to air conditioned shopping malls, local libraries and neighbourhood community centres, cooling centres are open during Extreme Heat Alerts at the following seven locations:
• Metro Hall – 55 John St. (24 hours)
• East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) • North York Civic Centre – 5100 Yonge St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) • Driftwood Community Centre – 4401 Jane St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) • McGregor Community Centre – 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) • Centennial Park Community Centre – 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
The public is also advised to beat the heat by taking these precautions:
• Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
• Take cool showers or baths or use cool, wet towels to cool down.
• Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat.
• Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
• Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
• Never leave seniors, children or pets unattended in a car.
Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for vulnerable residents to escape the heat. Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call or check on those clients at increased risk of heat-related illness during alerts.
When an alert is declared, those who need assistance or have heat-related inquiries may call 311.
More information on how to beat the heat is available at http://www.toronto.ca/health.
Water and snacks are available at the seven cooling centres: http://www.toronto.ca/health/heatalerts/beatheat_ac_places.htm
Often, high air pollution occurs during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts which are available at http://www.airhealth.ca