Janine Towne shared a picture from a recent walk along the dikes in Pitt Meadows, in the days leading up to the current unprecedented heat wave. (Special to The News)

Janine Towne shared a picture from a recent walk along the dikes in Pitt Meadows, in the days leading up to the current unprecedented heat wave. (Special to The News)

Record-breaking heat wave prompts opening of cooling centre

Cities of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge offer safe havens from hot weather this weekend

With temperatures registering upwards of 38 Celsius today, and the blazing heat expected to continue for several more days, the cities of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are offering some safe alternatives.

Pitt Meadows was first off the mark to open a cooling centre at the family recreation centre, at 12027 Harris Rd.

RELATED: Pitt Meadows to hit 30 C on Saturday

Opened Saturday and Sunday, it will also be open Monday and Tuesday, confirmed the city’s communications manager Carolyn Baldridge.

“If you are struggling with the heat, please come down to the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre,” she said, noting that COVID-19 protocols are in place.

The drop-in cooling centre will be staffed by Emergency Support Services volunteers who will provide guests with bottled water, washroom access and seating.

The cooling centre will be open Monday June 28, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and again on Tuesday, June 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The City is reminding everyone to please check in on older or more vulnerable neighbours, never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle and watch for symptoms of overheating.

If you are struggling with the heat, please come down to the centre.

Fraser Health has upgraded the heat advisory to an extreme heat alert that is in effect until Tuesday, June 29.

RELATED: Heat forces Pitt Meadows business to close early

Since the Fraser Health alert was declared, City of Maple Ridge also opened a cooling centre, located at the Greg Moore Youth Centre, at 11925 Haney Place, opposite the north entrance to Haney Place Mall and just south of The ACT Arts Centre.

Their cooling centre will be open from 1 to 10 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

The Maple Ridge site will be staffed by city employees, emergency support services volunteers, and security personnel who will be providing guests to the facility with bottled water, washroom access, and seating to provide some comfort from the heat, said city spokesperson Mick Ramos.

Additional days may be added as this weather system moves through the region, he said.

In addition to the cooling stations, the city’s spray parks – which have been going since the May long weekend – are expected to be extremely busy as a cool-down alternative during the hotter weather.

The two largest parks are located at:

Maple Ridge Park at 23200 132 Avenue

Albion Sports Complex 23778 104 Avenue

.

There are small water spray features located at:

Country Lane Estates North at 24299 102A Avenue

Country Lane Estates South at 24399 101A Avenue

Cedar Park at 23735 132 Avenue

Deer Fern Park at 13393 236 Street

Blaney Hamlet Park at 13712 230A Street

Firefighters Park at 11240 238 Street

Temperatures are expected to get up to 41 Sunday, and 43 on Monday, before potentially cooling down to more seasonal levels, such as 33 on Tuesday and dropping a bit from there.

RELATED: B.C. cities could reach 40 C as 4-day extreme heat warning issued around province

In the meantime, the Salvation Army is also coordinating support for homeless people in the community and a number of frontline agencies, including the city, are coordinating the response through this extreme heat emergency.

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

Maple Ridge parks teams have reactivated the water fountains in downtown parks, which were previously closed down due to COVID protocols, and are in the process of reactivation all of these facilities throughout the community on a priority basis.

The Maple Ridge Library hours are as follows:

  • Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m.

People who visit the library are asked to follow the instructions of library staff and all relevant heath protocols.

Fraser Health’s Extreme Heat Alert includes the following information:

Stay hydrated

  • Drink cool non-alcoholic beverages (preferably water) irrespective of your activity intake. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask about increasing the amount of water you can drink while the weather is hot.

Keep cool

  • NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52°C (125°F) within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34°C (93°F). Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
  • Seek out an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre or restaurant).
  • Use public splash pools, water parks or pools or take a cool bath or shower.
  • At current temperatures, fans alone are not effective. Applying cool water mist or wet towels prior to sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off.
  • Dress for the weather by wearing loose, light-weight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Keep your home cool. Open windows, close shades, use an air conditioner (if you have one) and prepare meals that do not require an oven.
  • Avoid sunburn, stay in the shade or use sunscreen with SPF 15 or more.
  • Avoid tiring work or exercise in the heat. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Limit day time outdoor activity to early morning and evening.

Check in on others

  • People living alone are at high risk of severe heat related illness. Check regularly on older people, and those who are unable to leave their homes, for signs of heat-related illness.
  • Ask whether people know how to prevent heat-related illness and are doing the same.
  • If others are unwell, move them to a cool shady spot, help them get hydrated and call for medical assistance if appropriate.

Get informed.

  • Listen to local news and weather channels.
  • For more information on heat-related illness, call HealthLink BC at 811.

As noted in the Fraser Health bulletin, please take a moment and check in on your older or more vulnerable neighbours.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to have to stay apart over the last year, and this weather system reminds us of the importance of connecting with family, friends, and neighbours to make sure we all stay safe, Ramos said.

.


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Pitt MeadowsSevere weatherWeather