Environment Canada is urging British Columbians to take precautions over the weekend and into next week thanks to a dangerous heatwave.
To that end, various cooling stations are being set up around the Cowichan Valley.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District has set up a cooling station at the Cowichan Community Centre beginning Saturday, June 26.
The air-conditioned Heritage Hall will be opened Saturday through Monday from noon to 6 p.m. for those who need some water and to escape the heat. Patrons are asked to use the arena-side entrance next to the Cowichan Valley Capitals offices.
All COVID-19 protocols will remain in place and masks will be provided.
“The hope is that seniors, families and whoever needs to get out of the heat will come and use the service,” said Community Centre manager Rob Williams.
Cooling tents will also be set up on Friday, June 25 from noon to 2:30 p.m. at 200 Cowichan Way, behind the casino, where those looking to beat the heat can get some water, fruit and supplies. Those tents will also be available Monday, June 28 through Wednesday, June 30 and Friday, July 2 as well as July 5-9, all between noon and 2:30 p.m.
Another set of cooling tents will be set up at the Cowichan Valley Basket Society at 5810 Garden St. on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (3 p.m. starting July 1). Food, water, and cooling supplies will be available for those in need.
While not an official cooling centre, Warmland Shelter on Lewis Street will be available to offer water and cooling supplies to those in need. The shelter’s adult outreach vans will be patrolling the area to help those in the community as well.
Clad in their blue ‘outreach’ ball caps, Island Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use outreach team will also be out in the community distributing water and other cooling supplies, while Discovery Youth and Family Services’s outreach team will be out helping youth in the area.
HealthLink BC reminds people to drink plenty of fluids, to find shade, air conditioning, or to have a cool bath or shower.
Plan activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., and avoid exercise or tiring work in hot, humid enviroments. Wear sunscreen and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
HealthLink BC also reminds caregivers to take their pets and children out of the car and to look after the seniors in their families.
“Regularly check older adults, children and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids,” says HealthLink BC. “Check on those who are unable to leave their homes and people with emotional or mental-health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.”
Environment Canada Public Weather Alerts for B.C.: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
HealthLinkBC online resources about beating the heat: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/beat-the-heat
And heat-related illness: www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/heat-related-illness
To ask about heat-related illness, call HealthLinkBC at 811.