Vernon News

Interior heat, smoke keeping first responders busy

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

VERNON - First responders are noticing an increase in medical calls related to the heat wave and forest fire smoke in the Southern Interior. 

In the North Okanagan, Vernon Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Colin Clarke says they’ve been responding to daily heat-related calls for the past week.

“People working in the heat all day are prone to heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” he says. “We’ve also had a couple calls for people out walking or doing day to day stuff, but it’s 38 C.”

He says everyone they were called out to assist recovered well with some hydration and first aid to bring their body temperatures down. 

A heat warning from Environment Canada says temperatures are expected to hit around 40 C by Thursday. Overnight temperatures will only recover to the upper teens to 20 C, forecasters say.

“People don’t always have air conditioning, so they work all day in the heat, go home and don’t get a restful sleep, and go back do the same thing the next day,” Clarke says.

Add to that the cloud of smoke infiltrating the valley, and anyone with a respiratory disorder or other medical issue can really suffer, Clarke says.

He suggests keeping well hydrated, seeking shade, and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity if you have an underlying health condition.

Clarke says hot weather has been impacting people across the country this year, with places like Ontario rolling out mobile hydration units.

“It seems to be the year of it,” he says.

Environment Canada recommends seeking a cool place such as a tree-shaded area, swimming pool, shower or bath, or air-conditioned spot like a public building, and drinking plenty of water.

Check on family, friends and neighbours and never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle, Environment Canada says.

The hot weather pattern is expected to taper off with cooler weather on Saturday.

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