Wednesday August 11, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
[Update at 12 noon on Thursday August 12: there is wildfire smoke in the Langford and west shore area, but it’s *not* from fires in the region]
[Updated 1:15 pm August 12 – locations of Langford sprayparks, 11 am to 8 pm; see below for location]
Play it cool! That’s not just a lifestyle recommendation from the 1960s, but during this heat wave it’s now also a directive from the BC Government and Public Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.
Today Dr Henry spent a lot of time in a live media call providing detail about how to ‘beat the heat’ during this third heat wave of summer 2021. In addition to drinking plenty of water before you feel thirsty, the key thing is to not let your body get overheated.
Stay indoors in an air conditioned space (or use fans), manage sunlight and hotter-outdoors air from coming in through windows, and utilize cool damp cloths directly on your body (like a chilled towel around your neck). Sleep in the coolest part of your home, even if it’s not the bedroom. Doing your social part, the BC Government is asking that people check on people they know who are elderly, or may have health challenges, or live alone.
Reliable weather forecasting:
Compared to years ago, weather forecasts are fairly reliable nowadays. It’s possible that a lingering view that weather sometimes has a mind of its own may have contributed to a weak (almost negligible) BC emphasis on heat safety during the heat dome heat event during June 25 to 29. In that period, over 560 people died as a direct result of overheating (mostly in homes without air conditioning), as declared by the BC Coroners Service last month.
Environment Canada’s heat warning issued a few days ago defines the heat threat as resulting from a “significant heat wave” from Wednesday August 11 through to Sunday, easing up by Sunday afternoon August 15.
The Wednesday to Sunday period — with a peak on Thursday and Friday — includes daytime highs ranging from 29°C to 35°C combined with overnight lows of 16°C to 19°C. Humidex values during this period will reach the mid to high 30s.
Cool community spaces:
Opening today’s press conference on heat safety was Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth who said that government funding is available for additional staffing costs to enable community spaces to stay open for longer hours so as to accommodate provision of an air conditioned space for members of the community.
“The Province is working closely with local governments and First Nations to provide support to people and communities in getting through this heat wave,” said Farnworth. “We’re reminding people to follow local weather advisories, make a plan to check on friends and neighbours, and get to know local resources, like the locations of nearby cooling stations where you can seek shelter from the heat if needed.”
West shore focus:
In Langford already today, the Langford Emergency Program has been consulting with Connection Point Church on how to support their center as a cooling facility. The church tweeted out mid-afternoon about their Cooling Centre open August 11 to 14 at their location at 103-737 Goldstream Ave, from 1 to 5 pm each day. They emphasize that COVID protocols are in place, and suggest bringing along a snack, game or craft while taking a rest in the cool air.
“Should they need us to provide personnel or supplies, we will help facilitate that,” says Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey.
Chief Aubrey says that if additional Cooling Centers are required, the Westshore Emergency Programs (Langford, Colwood and View Royal) will open one in Colwood at an air conditioned facility that will be supported through Emergency Management BC (EMBC).
More to come tomorrow (August 12): “Our other responses will be to provide cool water in pop-ups as part of our Mobile Information Van and our Beach Ambassadors Programs as well as promoting the use of our spray parks.”
And watch for this: There will be a spray park on Saturday August 14, put on by Langford firefighters (details to come). Meanwhile, Langford Fire Rescue has announced these sprayparks open today August 12: Veterans Park – 2830 Aldwyn Rd Leigh Pl Park – end of Leigh Pl Glen Lake Park – 3078 Shoreview Dr Centennial Park – 2805 Carlow Rd City Center Park (10am -4pm) – 1089 Langford Parkway
Information about Langford cooling centers and other initiatives related to the heat wave may soon be available on the www.langford.ca website.
Watch for updates on social media:
Social media streams such as Twitter will see various organizations posting their announcements about cooling centers in their areas, over the coming days.
However, many people are not on Twitter. So government or community center reliance on that method of communication — especially for the demographic that may need a community center for cooling — is not entirely realistic.
Island Health maintains a heat safety page with a lot of detail for staying cool. People who are unable to move to cooling centers (the elderly, people who live alone or have impaired mobility) are at greatest risk. People are asked to check with friends and family who may need assistance in managing a heat wave.
The BC Centre for Disease Control information on preparing for dangerous heat (last updated July 28, 2021).
Island Health kept a list of Cooling Centers during the heat dome at the end of June, but it is not currently updated.
During all of this heat concern, there is also a need to deal with smoky air in some areas, resulting from the wildfires in the BC Interior and from south of the border as well.
The BC govt is doing more for this third heat wave of summer 2021 in terms of advising the public on staying cool.
Both Minister Farnworth & Dr Henry also said yesterday that more will be done regarding a review and revision of building codes for southern BC as to requirements for air conditioning and ventilation, going forward. They stressed that the BC Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island have not, until now, seen such extreme heat. This changes the requirements around what can be considered safe housing.
Island Health: managing your health in August hot weather (August 10, 2021)
Greater Victoria weather alert: high temperatures July 27 to 31 (July 26, 2021)
Smoky air is a health hazard, but heat trumps that (July 24, 2021)
Summer health hazards: heat wave & wildfire smoke (July 3, 2021)
Summer delivers full week of hot weather (June 21, 2021)