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Heat Response Preparation Calls for Community Volunteers

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The City of Kamloops is preparing to initiate a heat response plan that will ensure residents are educated on the dangers of the summer heat while also seeking volunteers to support the activation of cooling centres.

In January 2022, the BC Health Effects of Anomalous Temperatures Coordinating Committee (BC HEAT Committee) was established to support planning and response efforts related to the public health impacts of significant heat events in British Columbia. This committee’s overarching objective is to ensure public health coordination around extreme hot weather. The coordination and identification of priorities evolved into the creation and implementation of a two-tier  heat alert and response system for the province. The two tiers are Heat Warning and Extreme Heat Emergency.

Emergency Management BC, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and BC Public Health will lead the BC heat alert response system coordination efforts. The City will share the BC heat alert response system messaging when the activation criteria are met, provide indoor and outdoor cooling and heat relief spaces, and encourage neighbour health checks to support community resiliency.

The City will activate a heat alert response protocol when Environment and Climate Change Canada issue a heat warning for Kamloops. This will include activating indoor and outdoor cooling spaces, promoting neighbour health checks, and sharing the BC heat alert and response system messaging prior to, during, and after activations through the City website and social media channels and by working with neighbourhood associations and other stakeholders. A heat warning is issued when the daytime high temperature is forecast to be 35°C or greater and the nighttime low temperature does not go below 18°C for two or more days in a row.  

“Volunteers are an extremely important component of our heat response plan, and we’re asking residents to consider volunteering their time during a heat warning. When a cooling centre is activated, it is initially staffed by City employees; however, in the event of an extended heat event or a concurrent emergency, volunteers would be required to keep cooling centres open,” said Linda Stride, the City’s Recreation, Health and Wellness Supervisor.

The City is seeking community volunteers to help operate up to three cooling centres should a response be activated. Sandman Centre will be the primary cooling site. Pending staff and volunteer availability, the City will aim to open the Parkview Activity Centre and Valleyview Community Hall as additional cooling sites. The centres will be open 12:00–8:00 pm on days of activation, and volunteers would contribute four-hour shifts.

Interested volunteers can apply online at Kamloops.ca/Heat.