Extreme Heat

Climate change means that more frequent and severe extreme heat events are coming to British Columbia. While anyone can be affected by extreme heat emergencies, those most at risk include people: With pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or respiratory disease.


Health impacts due to extreme weather conditions remain the management responsibility of the Province of B.C. and local health authorities.


While everyone is at risk of heat related illness, hot temperatures can be especially dangerous for the young, the elderly, those working or exercising in the heat, persons with chronic heart and lung con­ditions, persons with mental illness, people living alone and people experiencing homelessness. If you are taking medication, particularly for mental illness, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.


See tips below for ways to stay cool, cool your home, symptoms to watch for, and other resources to help you through these warmer times. For additional tips and advice, please visit the Province of BC’s ‘Be prepared for extreme heat and drought’ page and download and print the PreparedBC Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide.


The Province of British Columbia and local health authorities and community outreach groups continue to offer public health support to prepare for heat and wildfire smoke events, including with the following recommendations:


  • Relocate to a cooler location if you are able to.
  • Rework the coolest location in your home so you can sleep there at night.
  • Put up external window covers to block the sun if you can safely do so.
  • Close your curtains and blinds.
  • Ensure digital thermometers have batteries.
  • Make ice and prepare jugs of cool water
  • Keep windows closed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Open them at 8 p.m. to allow cooler air in, and use fans (including kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans) to move cooler air through the house
  • Identify an extreme heat buddy who can check on you when it gets hot and who you can reach out for help.
  • Stay connected with your friends and neighbours – check on older people and those who are house-bound for signs of heat-related illness.
  • Stay hydrated – drink cold beverages, preferably free of alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
  • Dress appropriately– avoid dark colours and heavy layers. Wear a hat, loose fitting clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen when heading outdoors.
  • Cool down – we are fortunate to be surrounded by many water sources from the Salish Sea to lakes and streams. Check out one of our many parks or beach accesses. Please make sure to practice water safety principles in and around water and, especially in high flowing rivers.
  • Slow down – avoid strenuous activities.
  • Look for shade – avoid direct exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid hot cars – never leave your children or pets in a hot car.
  • Visit air conditioned indoor spaces

Extreme Weather Supports for Vulnerable Populations:


Local agencies are working together to support community members, and in a heat emergency, rely on you to support those most vulnerable in your community. The following is a list of symptoms of heat-related illness to watch out for:

  • pale, cool, moist skin;
  • heavy sweating;
  • muscle cramps;
  • rash;
  • swelling, especially hands and feet;
  • fatigue and weakness;
  • dizziness and/or fainting;
  • headache; nausea and/or vomiting;
  • fever, particularly a core body temperature of 40° C (104° F) or more;
  • confusion and decreased mental alertness;
  • hallucinations; red, hot, dry skin (in the late stages of heat stroke);
    seizures; and
  • unconsciousness/coma

For more information on heat-related illness, visit ClimateReadyBC or dial 811.

Keep Pets Cool

Make sure to keep your furry friends cool in hot temperatures. Here are some tips from the BC SPCA on summer pet safety. Dogs can also cool off in a designated off-leash area where there is access to the water such as the Cable Bay Trail and Invermere Beach.

Be FireSmart

The risk of wildfires goes up as the temperature goes up. Residents are also advised to ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished, and that any embers from risky outdoor activities in the back woods are extinguished quickly. Please do not throw lit cigarettes or other smoking materials out the car windows.


To better protect your community and home from wildfire, please visit qathet.ca/regional-firesmart-program

Find more information on how you can prevent wildfires by visiting FireSmartbc.ca.

Wildfire Smoke

You can subscribe to air quality advisories on the Province of BC’s websiteIsland Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control have information on how to reduce the health risks of wildfire smoke.