The province is launching the BC Heat Alert and Response System (BC HORS) to help ensure people, First Nation communities and local governments have the tools they need to stay safe during heat events.
Under BC Horse, the province is prepared to issue broadcast intrusion alerts for extreme heat emergencies.
The province is also bringing in additional measures to strengthen B.C.’s ambulance system to better respond to a significant increase in 911 calls during summer emergencies.
It builds on the recently announced extreme heat funding stream for First Nations and local governments under the $189 million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for extreme heat-risk mapping, assessment and planning.
“The unprecedented heat last summer caused hundreds of deaths, making it clear that we need to be better prepared for future extreme heat events,” said Mike Farnsworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We have developed a new heat framework so we are ready for the next heat event, and we are ready to issue Broadcast Intrusion Alerts for extreme heat emergencies to make the public aware.”
BC HARS includes two categories of heat events: heat warnings and extreme heat emergencies. In the event of a heat warning or extreme heat emergency, the provincial government and local authorities will take appropriate action based on their individual heat plans and procedures.
For extreme heat emergencies, the province is prepared to issue alerts through the national public warning system, Alert Ready, which is already used to issue amber alerts and tsunami, wildfire and flood warnings .
“It is important that we apply the lessons learned from last year’s devastating heat dome to ensure that the province and our health care system is as prepared and resilient as possible during extreme heat,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said. “The new heat warning and response system and the actions we are taking to strengthen the ambulance system and emergency care will help ensure that people across BC are safe during future heat waves.”
During an extreme heat event, the BC Emergency Health Service (BCEHS) new clinical safety plan will increase capacity, maintain quality patient service, protect staff health and safety, and ensure timely communication with various stakeholders . The plan will guide BCEHS during an extreme event, such as reassigning staff to support areas experiencing increased call volume, reducing turnaround times at major hospitals, and providing alternative care routes and transportation options. so that ambulances are available for 911 calls.
It builds on actions the province has already taken to strengthen the ambulance system and emergency care in BC, including appointing a new chief ambulance officer and restructuring the BCEHS board. In addition, BCEHS has added 125 new full time paramedic posts and 42 new dispatcher positions in urban areas. BCEHS has also added 22 ambulances, of which nine are already in service, and staff at 24 ambulance stations has been transitioned from on-call to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage.
To further ensure that British Columbians are receiving appropriate pre-hospital care, BCEHS, in partnership with the province and key stakeholders, is working to expand the care and treatment that paramedics and first responders can provide. Huh.
The province has also created a new Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide that aims to help people prepare their habitats for extreme heat and provides advice on how to stay safe when temperatures rise. The guide is available in French, Punjabi, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese and was created in partnership with the BC Center for Disease Control.
Steps people can take to keep themselves and others safe during heat events include identifying cool areas inside and outside their homes (community centres, libraries, etc.), taking cold baths or showers, drinking plenty of water. Including drinking and checking in with vulnerable neighbors.
Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles), heat rash, and heat cramps (muscle cramps). Watch for signs of heat illness, including decreased urination with dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, confusion, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst and unusually dark yellow urine . If anyone feels any of these symptoms during the scorching heat, he should immediately go to a cool place, start cooling down and drink fluids.
“Public warnings are an important tool in ensuring that Canadians are aware of emerging threats in their communities.” Bill Blair, chairman of the Queen’s Privy Council and federal minister for emergency preparedness for Canada. “Last summer, record-breaking temperatures killed lives in British Columbia, and this British Columbia government initiative will help warn residents of extreme heat waves, helping them to protect themselves and each other.” be able to take necessary steps.”