57 heat dome fatalities in Thompson-Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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57 heat dome fatalities in Thompson-Okanagan

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The B.C. Coroners Service reported today that 57 people died in the Thompson-Okanagan region as a result of last summer's extreme heatwave.

The heat dome, which took place between June 25 and July 1, took the lives of 12 Kelowna residents, 14 Kamloops residents and five from Vernon. The report issued today, Nov. 1, states that 57 people died in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap and Okanagan region. Towns and cities where there were less than five fatalities were not individually listed in the report.

Sixty-four people within the Interior Health region died as a result of the heatwave.

The record-breaking heat claimed the lives of 595 British Columbians, the vast majority located in the Lower Mainland.

B.C. residents over the age of 70 accounted for 69 per cent of all deaths and there were no deaths reported among children.

The B.C. Coroners Service says 526 fatalities occurred in the province during the six days of extreme temperatures, with the remaining happening over the days and weeks afterwards due to injuries sustained during the heat-dome period.

June 28 and June 29 were the most deadly days in B.C. with 362 fatalities taking place over the two days.

The report says that 96 per cent of heat-related deaths occurred within a residential setting.

Individual investigations into each of the 595 deaths are hoped to be completed by early 2022.

"I extend my sincere condolences to all of those who lost a loved one as a result of last summer's unprecedented heat dome," B.C. Coroners Service chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a media release issued today. "By identifying patterns and factors in the tragic deaths that occurred unexpectedly last summer, our province will be in a better position to prevent future similar tragedies.

"The effects of climate change are both real and unpredictable. Having a plan to regularly check in with loved ones who live alone, being aware of cooler and air-conditioned areas in your neighbourhood, and heeding early warnings about extreme weather are simple steps that will help ensure we are all properly prepared and safe. While we expect the findings of the death review will significantly contribute to efforts to increase public safety, we must take steps to prepare for future extreme weather events now."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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