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Beat the heat: how to stay cool during a heatwave, and where to find cooling centres

British Columbians are getting ready to sweat, as Environment and Climate Change Canada issues special weather statements and warnings about an upcoming heatwave. Monika Gul has all the details.

The weather is heating up for much of British Columbia, with temperatures expected to exceed 30 C in many areas of the south coast.

The BCCDC has offered some tips to help residents stay cool during the upcoming heatwave, including:

  • drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty, especially at night
  • reduce activity level and avoid intense activity
  • wear a damp shawl or shirt
  • sit in a cool or tepid bath
  • take a cool shower
  • use a personal mister or spray bottle

People are advised to watch out for signs of heat stroke, which include severe headache, confusion, unsteadiness, vomiting, and a loss of thirst.

“If you are experiencing heat-related illness, take immediate action to cool down and call for help if needed,” the BCCDC said.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is a medical emergency.”

Tips to keep your home cooler:

  • identify a cool spot in your home to sleep in
  • install awnings, shutters, blinds, or curtains to keep the sun out during the day
  • make sure to have a fan nearby, but the BCCDC points out that fans do not help lower body temperature at temperatures above 35 C
  • use a digital room thermometer to determine when your home is getting too hot

Also, it is helpful to find an air-conditioned space near your home where you can go to cool off, if necessary. The BCCDC recommends going to spaces such as movie theatres, libraries, community centres, and malls. See below for a list of cooling stations around the Lower Mainland.

Watch for signs of heat stroke:

People are advised to watch out for signs of heat stroke, which include severe headache, confusion, unsteadiness, vomiting, and a loss of thirst.

“If you are experiencing heat-related illness, take immediate action to cool down and call for help if needed,” the BCCDC said.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is a medical emergency.”

It is also important to check in on others, especially older people, those with chronic illness, and people who live alone.

As for your furry friends, the BC SPCA reminds pet owners that animals should never be left alone in a hot vehicle, even for a short period of time.

“We hear it all the time, ‘I was just running into the store, I was only gone a few minutes!’ but what many people don’t understand is that even a few minutes can have fatal effects for an animal,” said Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations.

“Not to mention, even the shortest trips can easily turn into a half an hour or more in the store while your pet suffers in the heat.”

When at home, the association offers tips to keep your pets cooler, including making sure they have adequate water, giving them a frozen treat bowl, making sure they have a cool place to sleep, and giving them access to a fan.

The City of North Vancouver also has tips for pet owners, and says owners should avoid walking their animals on concrete.

“Dogs actually sweat through their paws, so walking on hot pavement has a big impact, especially on darker asphalt,” the city said.

“Check if it’s too hot for your dog by placing your hand on the pavement and seeing if you can keep it there comfortably for 10 seconds; if you can’t, it’s too hot for paws.”

Where to stay cool around the Lower Mainland: cooling centres, pools, and misting stations

Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has created an interactive map showing locations of all cooling centres, misting stations, spray parks, wading pools, and weather protected plazas, which can be found here.

“You don’t need to register, pay, or show identification to visit a cooling centre,” the city said.

“Seating, water, and access to washrooms are available at these locations. You can also head to an air-conditioned space in your community such as a shopping mall or neighbourhood organization.”

All community cooling centres allow well-behaved pets, except for Evelyne Saller Centre and Carnegie Community Centre. Pets are not allowed at libraries, however.

Burnaby

The City of Burnaby is operating four Cooling Centre locations, which will remain open between 10 am and 10 pm daily until the heat subsides.

Cameron Community Centre (9523 Cameron Street)
Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool (240 Willingdon Avenue)
Bonsor Recreation Complex (6550 Bonsor Avenue)
Edmonds Community Centre (7433 Edmonds Street)

Chilliwack

Cooling centres are located in many spaces around Chilliwack.
Cheam Leisure Centre – 45501 Market Way
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre – 9145 Corbould Street
Chilliwack Library – 45860 First Avenue
Sardis Library – 5819 Tyson Road
Yarrow Library – 4670 Community Street
Central Community Park Spray Park – 45943 Victoria Avenue
Cheam Centre Spray Park – 45501 Market Way (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Chilliwack Landing Spray Park – 9145 Corbould Street (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Coquitlam

The City of Coquitlam has many locations for people to cool off, including:

Cooling centres:
Coquitlam City Hall – 3000 Guildford Way
Bettie Allard YMCA – 555 Emerson Street
Centennial Activity Centre – 578 Poirier Street
City Centre Aquatic Complex – 1210 Pinetree Way
Dogwood Pavilion – 1655 Winslow Avenue
Glen Pine Pavilion – 1200 Glen Pine Court
Maillardville Community Centre – 1200 Carier Avenue
Pinetree Community Centre – 1260 Pinetree Way
Poirier Community Centre – 630 Poirier Street
Smiling Creek Activity Centre – 3456 Princeton Avenue
Summit Community Centre – 1450 Parkway Boulevard
Town Centre Park Community Centre – 1200 Pinetree Way

Pools:
Drop-ins are welcome at Eagle Ridge Outdoor Pool (2689 Guildford Way) and Blue Mountain Wading Pool (975 King Albert Way)

Free spray parks:
Burns Park Spray Park – 802 Edgar Avenue
Cottonwood Spray Park – 672 Aspen Street
Galloway Spray Park 3404 Galloway Avenue
Mackin Spray Park – 1046 Brunette Avenue
Norm Staff Spray Park – 3320 David Avenue
Panorama Spray Park – 1485 Johnson Street
Rochester Spray Park – 1390 Rochester Avenue
Sheffield Spray Park – 3510 Sheffield Avenue
Blue Mountain Spray Park, 975 King Albert Ave.
Town Centre Spray Park, 1299 Pinetree Way

City of Port Coquitlam

Port Coquitlam has cooling centres at the Poco Community Centre (PCCC) and Hyde Creek Recreation Centre, open Monday to Friday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As well, the city has spray parks at Castle and Sun Valley Parks and spray features at Lions Park and PCCC. Outdoor pools include Centennial, Routely, Sun Valley, and Robert Hope pools.

City of North Vancouver

North Vancouver has a number of facilities to help beat the heat.

Outdoor misting stations:
Civic Plaza – near the 14th Street cul-de-sac
Dog Park – 8th & Lonsdale, east side
Mahon Park – by the pickle ball court
Moodyville Park – by the washroom
Ray Perrault Park – by the field washroom
Rey Sargent Park
Victoria Park West
Waterfront Park South

Spray and Splash Parks:
Mahon Spray Park – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Shipyards Splash Park – 10a.m. to 8 p.m.

City of New Westminster

Cooling centres will be available in several spots:
Century House – 620 Eighth Street
Queensborough Community Centre – 920 Ewen Avenue
New Westminster Public Library – 716 Sixth Avenue
Anvil Centre – 777 Columbia Street

City of Richmond

The city suggest a number of places to go to stay cool on its website.

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