With the significant heat wave in Penticton and the surrounding area, the City is encouraging residents and visitors to be responsible and safe by drinking plenty of water, staying cool and following recommendations from Health Canada. To support our residents and visitors during this heat wave, the City has assembled the following resources.
Health & Safety
The City also initiated a Call Centre for residents who may have questions about available resources. Residents can call to inquire about places to stay cool, accessing water, preparing for the heat or caring for pets.
Call Centre Phone: 250-490-2345
It is very important that we look out for each other during this heat wave. Of special concern are our seniors and our citizens who are not able to escape the heat as they may not have air conditioning or suitable shelter.
Please introduce a ‘buddy system’ and check on your family, friends, neighbours, seniors, fellow citizens and their pets to ensure they are not in any danger from this extreme heat.
The Government of Canada, via Health Canada, has an online guide that outlines how individuals and families can protect themselves during the heat wave. This includes tips for how to prepare for the heat, how to keep your home cool, and how parents and caregivers can keep children cool. Check out their complete list of how to stay safe during extreme temperatures.
The City is reminding residents and visitors that there are publicly accessible water sources available. Bylaw Services officers are also watching out for and carrying water for people in need.
Visit HealthlinkBC for information about emergency first aid for heatstroke. If you encounter someone in distress, in most cases they can find relief if they get out of the sun, into a cool space and drink plenty of water. If the person is exhibiting the following symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and body temperature continues to rise, often to 40°C (104°F) or higher. Signs of rapidly progressing heatstroke include:
- Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds.
- Convulsion (seizure).
- Signs of moderate to severe difficulty breathing.
- A rectal temperature over 40°C (104°F) after exposure to a hot environment.
- Confusion, severe restlessness, aggressive behaviour or anxiety.
- Fast heart rate.
- Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped.
- Skin that may be red, pale, hot, and dry, even in the armpits.
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Even with immediate treatment, it can be life-threatening or result in serious, long-term complications. After calling 911 or other emergency medical services, follow these first aid steps.
- Move the person into a cool place, out of direct sunlight.
- Remove the person's unnecessary clothing, and place the person on his or her side to expose as much skin surface to the air as possible.
- Cool the person's entire body by sponging or spraying cold water, and fan the person to help lower the person's body temperature. Watch for signs of rapidly progressing heatstroke, such as seizure, unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds, and moderate to severe difficulty breathing.
- Apply ice packs in each armpit and on the back of the person's neck.
- If a child has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing.
- Do not give aspirin or acetaminophen to reduce a high body temperature that can occur with heatstroke. These medicines may cause problems because of the body's response to heatstroke.
- If the person is awake and alert enough to swallow, give the person fluids [1 L (32 fl oz) to 2 L (64 fl oz) over 1 to 2 hours] for hydration. You may have to help. Make sure the person is sitting up enough so that he or she does not choke. Most people with heatstroke have an altered level of consciousness and cannot safely be given fluids to drink.
Please note a citywide fire ban is currently in place. This is even more important during the dry conditions to ensure that there are no fires in Penticton to prevent a wildfire from unintentionally starting.
Places to Stay Cool
The South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) is now open as a cooling centre to provide a safe place for residents and visitors to get relief from the extreme heat.
All civic facilities such as City Hall, the Public Library and the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-in Centre are good options for people needing temporary relief from the heat during normal business hours and in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols.
SOEC Cooling Centre (835 Eckhart Avenue): Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting today through Friday, July 2, 2021. Pets are allowed in the building (leashed and under control) and masks are required for anyone entering the premises along with all COVID-19 safety protocols being followed.
Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre (2965 Main Street): Open from 9 am to 4 pm.
Penticton Public Library (785 Main Street) Open from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
City Hall (171 Main Street): Open 9 am to 4 pm.
The SOEC Cooling Centre and the Library foyer will be open on Canada Day between the hours of 7 am to 8 pm. City Hall, the Penticton Public Library and the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-in Centre are closed on Canada Day.
The City is reminding residents and visitors that there are publicly accessible water sources available. In addition, bylaw officers will have bottled water for those needing a cool drink and water will also be available at City Hall, the Community Centre and the Public Library.
Resources for Pets
Pets are vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Pet owners are advised that dogs are at risk of burning their paws on the asphalt and of getting heat stroke if outdoors in the extreme temperatures.
Encourage them to stay in shaded areas, put down damp towels or blankets for them to lie on, put the garden sprinkler on, allow access to a wading pool for them in the shade. If you don't have a shaded area you can create one by stringing up a tarp or blanket.
To help keep them hydrated, you can replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food or give them some home made frozen treats!
Lastly, only exercise them in the early mornings or later evening.
Signs of heatstroke in pets include:
- Excessive or heavy panting, excessively drooling, dog appears lethargic, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsy, uncoordinated or collapses.
What you can do to help your dog:
- Remove your dog from the hot environment immediately;
- Apply towels soaked in cool water to their head, neck and chest;
- Pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over your dog;
- Allow and encourage your dog to drink small amounts of water;
- Continue to pour cool water over your dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering.
- Once your dog is cool, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
For a dog, though, harmful, and even life-threatening effects can occur in a short time in a hot car. Dogs can’t release heat by sweating, as humans do, so their internal body temperature rises more quickly.
The following tips are from the BC SPCA about what you should do if you see a dog in a parked car.
If you see an animal in distress in a parked vehicle, here’s the steps to take:
Note the license plate, vehicle colour, make and model and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. If the animal is not showing signs of distress, but you are concerned, you may wish to stay by the vehicle to monitor the situation until the owner returns.
If the animal is showing clear signs of heatstroke or other distress symptoms, call your local animal control agency, police, RCMP or the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible. The BC SPCA has a limited number of constables – if one is not available in the area the Call Centre can advise you about other emergency numbers to call so that help will arrive as quickly as possible.