During the heat event last year, B.C.’s ambulance system was run off its feet responding to 9-1-1 calls. To limit wait times, Health Minister Adrian Dix says more paramedics and dispatchers have been hired and additional ambulances have been brought in.
“For instance, staff may be reassigned to support areas experiencing higher call volumes and we may take measures to reduce turnaround time at hospitals.”
For heat waves, fires, floods, train derailments or any other urgent emergency, Kamloops brought in the Voyent! Alert app, which Mayor Ken Christian says will allow the city to send immediate notifications out to users.
“I would encourage residents to download the Voyent! app if they haven’t already and we’re going to have a test of that system at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday (June 8),” adds Christian.
The app will be used in addition to other measures the City enacts each year during prolonged heat, such as opening cooling centres. Christian notes that there’s also a certain level of community thoughtfulness that needs to be part of the response.
“I think we learned a lesson last year. We lost six lives in Kamloops because of heat exposure and I think many of them were in un-air-conditioned apartment buildings and they just were left alone. And what we really need to focus on is wellness checks,” reiterates Christian. “Know your neighbour, know your family members, check on them during periods of extreme heat.”
Extreme heat emergencies such as the heat dome of 2021 are expected once or twice a decade, according to the province. But it’s anticipated heat warnings could be issued as often as two or three times each summer.