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Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network advises public to check on elderly during upcoming heat wave

Friday temperature expected to feel like 38 C with Humidex
Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries team handed out water bottles, to all who wanted them during the last heat wave at the end of June, at Maple Ridge’s Memorial Peace Park. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Seniors Network are reminding members of the public to check in on their older neighbours, friends, and family members as another heat wave is predicted throughout the province.

As of Tuesday, July 27, Heather Treleaven, the Senior’s Network coordinator, was not aware of any additional measures being planned by either the City of Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows with regards to the opening of cooling centres.

In order for cooling centres to open, an extreme heat advisory, EHA, has to be announced by Environment Canada, under which temperatures are forecast to be above 29 Celsius for more than two days, explained Barbara Morgan, manager of the emergency program for the City of Pitt Meadows.

Predictions for this heat wave do not meet those requirements, she said.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely,” said Morgan. And, if the temperatures change or the conditions warrant, the city is prepared to open up the stations.

However, Morgan does not expect conditions to be like the last heat wave when a heat dome blanketed the region for days at the end of June, causing temperatures to rise into the 40s.

B.C.’s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe said extreme heat played a factor in a record 719 deaths across the province from June 25 through July 1 – three times the average amount reported in a typical week. In a 24-hour period between June 29-30 there were eight sudden deaths in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, an unusually high number for such a short period of time, said Insp. Adam Gander, at the time.

Environment Canada is predicting this heat wave to last from Wednesday, July 28, to Saturday, July 31.

Temperatures around Pitt Meadows are expected to reach a high of 26 C (29 C inland) on Thursday, 28 C (32 C inland) Friday, and 26 C (31 C inland) on Saturday, before dropping to 23 C on Sunday. During the same period, at night the temperature is expected to drop to 16 to 18 C.

The province issued a heat warning Tuesday afternoon.

“Extreme heat is dangerous and can have devastating and deadly consequences,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Health authorities and BC Emergency Health Services are preparing to assist people in need during the heat wave. British Columbians must also make any necessary preparations ahead of time and take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”

However, these temperatures are not unusual for this area, added Morgan.

Treleaven agreed, saying there is less concern when the forecast includes cooling periods over night.

Morgan is advising seniors to stay hydrated, to dress for the heat, keep your space cool by closing blinds to block the sun and opening windows at night to let the cooler air in, and to check in with people that support them or to get supports to check in on them.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows sees spike in sudden deaths

“Then, if you can, take an opportunity to go to a cool place,” said Morgan, whether that be a library, or the mall, or a tree-shaded area in a park.

And, she advised, to watch for heat exhaustion symptoms including: dizziness, a feeling of fainting, nausea or vomiting, unusual rapid breathing or high heart rate, headache, difficulty concentrating, muscle cramps, or extreme thirst.

“The biggest message that we could put out there is check on your loved ones,” she said.

Both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Seniors Activity Centres will be open for anyone who wants to cool off.

RELATED: Salvation Army ramps up for hot weekend in Maple Ridge

“Our dining room is now open, we’ll have a couple rooms available that are all air conditioned for people to come and rest, hang out, read a book,” said executive director of the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, Maria Perretta.

Amelia Norrie, fundraising coordinator with the Salvation Army in Maple Ridge said that the Salvation Army’s doors are always open for people, especially during such weather events.

“Whenever we see extreme weather, be it extreme cold or a heat wave like we are expecting again this weekend, our doors are open to the community,” said Norrie, adding that the organization will be replicating some of the things they did over last month’s heat wave.

“Even though the heat wave will be shorter and not as extreme as the last time, we will still have our cooling stations open to general public.”

People will be welcome to use showers, come in for water and snacks, or even just to sit in the AC. On Thursday and Friday, the Salvation Army will be doing their drive-by’s to distribute water through the city.

The organization distributed close to 300 bottles during the previous heat wave, over three to four days, said Norrie.

“If you are in a position where you are feeling unwell, please come to our cooling stations,” she added.

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