Extreme Heat

Heat events in British Columbia are classified into two levels, a Heat Warning when conditions are very hot, and there is a moderate risk to public health, and an Extreme Heat Emergency when conditions are dangerously hot and have a very high risk to public health. For more information on the BC Heat Alert and Response System visit the BC Centre for Disease Control Heat Event Response Planning website.

Extreme heat can put your health at risk. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. While extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for:

  • Older adults
  • Infants and young children
  • People with chronic illnesses (like breathing problems, mental illness, and heart problems)
  • People who work in the heat
  • People who exercise in the heat
  • Pets

If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat.

During extreme heat, the most important thing is to keep cool and hydrated.

  • Drink water regularly, even more than you think you need
  • Check on family, friends and your neighbours, especially those who are isolated or more vulnerable to heat illness
  • Make your home as comfortable as possible – close blinds and shutters during the daytime and open them at night; consider installing a home cooling system (rebate information is available here: BC Heat Pump Rebates • CleanBC Better Homes (betterhomesbc.ca))
  • Open your windows at night to let in cooler air
  • If you don’t have air-conditioning, take shelter in the coolest room in your home and use a fan
  • Cool showers and misting yourself and your clothing with cool water will help keep you from overheating
  • If you’re heading outside make sure you protect yourself from the sun by staying in the shade, avoiding direct sun mid-day, wearing a hat and protective clothing, using sunscreen, and wearing UV-protective eye wear
  • Seek cooler, breezier areas such as water access areas and areas with lots of trees

Cooling Resources in Sooke

Indoor cooling locations in Sooke, offering air conditioning and water include:

Pets in Extreme Heat

During extreme heat, it’s important to remember that pets are vulnerable too! In these conditions, the BC SPCA recommends the following tips:
  • Check the pavement before your walk. Place your hand or bare foot on the pavement for five seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin, then it’s most likely too hot for your pet.
  • Walk during cooler times of the day. Avoid taking walks during the hottest time of the day. Instead, opt for walks in the early morning and late evening when the pavement is cooler.
  • Keep midday walks short. If you’re taking your pet out during the day, be sure to keep walks short. If you have a longer adventure planned, be sure to bring water and take frequent breaks.
  • Refrain from walking on hard surfaces and stick to the grass. Pavement and roads can be tough on your dog’s joints, in addition to being too hot for your dog’s paws. If possible, stick to grass, dirt, or a softer terrain but be aware of uneven surfaces or any other hazards like rocks and holes.
  • Stick to a shady and cool route. You don’t want your dog to become overheated, which is why sticking to cool and shady routes is key. A run along a lake or pond is another great idea since it’s the perfect place for your dog to stop for a dip post-run.

Additionally, the BC SPCA recommends Carrying a Kit for your pet. This includes bottled water, a small bowl, a small battery-powered fan and a towel that can be soaked in water.

For more tips about keeping your pet cool at home, the BC SPCA has lots of tips to help keep you and your pets safe.

Additional Resources