Heat waves: more prevention to avoid the worst, asks the chief coroner of the B.C.

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Heatwaves&nbsp ;: more prevention to avoid the worst, asks BC Chief Coroner.

The heat dome that hit the west of the country in June 2021 claimed the lives of more than 600 people in British Columbia.

British Columbia Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe makes three key recommendations to the government to prevent further heat-related deaths following of the “heat dome” that hit the province in the summer of 2021 and left 619 people dead.

First, it recommends the creation of a coordinated provincial extreme heat alert and response system, a recommendation already welcomed by the government, which has announced a system of this kind. Monday type.

Second, the coroner advises defining and supporting populations most at risk during extreme heat. Two-thirds of those who died during the heat dome were over the age of 70, and more than half lived alone, its report points out.

The RCMP specifies that it is mainly elderly people who were victims of the extreme temperatures during the heat dome of the summer of 2021.

This document specifies that the heat-related deaths were more numerous among people who had chronic illnesses, who were disadvantaged, or who did not have air conditioning or fans.

Third, Lisa Lapointe recommends that the province implement long-term risk mitigation strategies.

To prevent another such deadly heat wave, the Medical Officer of Health Coroners Service Chief Jatinder Baidwan says people need to understand the seriousness of extreme heat events.

People who feel unwell should contact loved ones or go to a refreshment centre, he says.

“People need to understand the severity of a heat wave and take action. [Last summer], how many of us went knocking on a neighbor's door to ask if they were okay? When the weather is nice, people mainly think of the beach and all the activities they can do outside.

— Jatinder Baidwan, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the British Columbia Coroners Service

British Columbians need to understand the seriousness of a heat wave, said Dr. Jatinder Baidman of the British Columbia Coroners Service.

The report also recommends building code changes related to heat. We usually worry about someone freezing to death, and there are rules in the building code about insulation, for example, but there's nothing about heat, Dr. Baidwan points out. /p>

To this question posed by a reporter during Tuesday's press conference: Is British Columbia better prepared than last June for a heat wave?, Dr. Baidwan said yes while recognizing that nothing is perfect.

Our main goal is to eliminate as many risk factors as possible and we have provided a roadmap to government to make it happen.

The province and some municipalities came under fire for their handling of the heat dome last summer.

The report states that in 50 cases, the paramedics took 30 minutes or more from the time of the call to their arrival on the scene. In six cases, the caller was informed that no ambulance was available to assist.

On occasion In a press briefing on Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said staff numbers had been increased so there will be more ambulances and full-time staff in 24 communities in the province.

While the weather is quite cool and humid at the moment, the province nevertheless invites British Columbians to prepare for the next heat episodes, in particular by following published advice in this guide (in French).

With information from Nantou Soumahoro

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