After the recent disastrous and unprecedented heat wave (June / July 2021) we all need to be aware that our climate in "beautiful BC" has changed. The extremely sad news of "Sudden deaths recorded during #BC's #heatwave is up to 719 people ... (July 3, 2021) with many of the victims being #seniors who were found alone in hot homes that were not well-ventilated" British Columbians, and Canadians need to know how to stay well during future heatwaves and weather extremes. Here are a few ideas we use in our own home:
HEATWAVE STAYING COOL - Easiest first with little / no cost involved:
- Keep drapes and blinds closed during hot sunny days
- Cover windows with foil (aluminium) to reflect hot sun rays
- If you have a basement, move on downstairs as it can be 5 to 10 degrees "cooler"
- When outside temperatures are below the house temperatures, open windows on shady side of your home
- Cool your body temperature down with a lukewarm bath
- Pets suffer in heat also and a kids pool works well for your family pooch when located in a shady part of the yard
- IF you have ceiling fans, use them to circulate home air, especially cool basement air
- A small fan, a bowl of water with ice works well as a makeshift "instant" air conditioner
- Check humidity where you live, especially if you have breathing difficulties. Check out this article on Home Humidity from Caramel & Parsley
- Spray yourself, and your plants, with a water mister
- Drink lots of cool, fresh water...
OTHER EMERGENCY IDEAS during a Heatwave:
- Be aware of weather forecasts and coming heat waves with extremely high temperatures and ensure you and your family including elderly relatives, and those with mobility or health issues, are provided for
- It is possible during a heat wave with high electricity use, power may fail so always have a back up plan.
- Limit use of household electricity during an extreme weather event by turning off lights, etc when not in use
- Wear loose fitting clothing, preferably cotton over synthetics
- According to news articles at the time of the heat wave, Ambulance service waits were extraordinarily long It is in your best interest to have a way to travel to a nearby "cooling centre" or hospital in an emergency if services (loss of phone, power, internet or another emergency) are delayed or unavailable.
MAINTAIN A HEALTH LIFESTYLE- Briefly:
- Have a healthy diet & lifestyle "Simple Lifestyle Changes to become Healthier" (2020)
- Exercise as you are able - walking, swimming and gardening are all good choices "Exercise for Better Health" (2017)
- "7 Simple Lessons to Learn About Life". Be sensible eg: Be proactive with your health, eat real food, "live, laugh, love"
IN CLOSING :
As with most articles hoping this has made you more aware of something you did not know before. Please check out links and articles you need more information on. Not everyone has home air conditioning so hopefully this has given you some options. Simply look after yourself and your health and that of your family. Best wishes and stay "cool" ~ Liz
Links & References:
- Extreme Heat: Heat waves from the Government of Canada June, 2021
- News article : "Cooling Centres open across North Shore as heat records smashed" from North Shore News June 28, 2021
- Weather forecast for Abbotsford BC
- Air Quality Advisories for province of BC
- "Looking after your lungs in hot weather" British Lung Foundation
- "Signs of "Heat Related Illnesses" Province of BC
- "State Emergency Response Plan Extreme Heat Sub-Plan" from Emergency Management, Victoria, Australia 2017
- Are you prepared for an Earthquake or other emergency? (2016)