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Emergency Preparedness Week: Be prepared for extreme heat


Thermometer showing extreme heat
Be prepared for anything - take the time this Emergency Preparedness Week to plan ahead and be ready!

Emergency Preparedness Week, a national event supported by Public Safety Canada, has run for over 25 years, traditionally during the first week of May. This year's event is May 1 through 7, and its theme is “Emergency Preparedness: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility.”

The importance of being prepared was highlighted during last year’s unprecedented heat wave that impacted the North with record highs. As a result, Northern Health, in partnership with Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC), is focusing this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week around being prepared for extreme heat.

What is extreme heat? Why is it a concern?

Extreme heat events, also known as heat waves, can be a concern in the summer months when temperatures are hotter than average, and humidity is higher. Because of our changing climate, heat events are happening more often, and they’re a growing public health risk in Canada.

To stay safe and healthy, it’s important to prepare in advance for heat waves. This is especially important for our more vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, because they’re at higher risk for developing heat-related illness.

Heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion and the more serious heat stroke; both are considered medical emergencies. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are cold, pale, and clammy skin and a fast, weak pulse. Heat exhaustion can sometimes lead to heat stroke, which is when your body temperature is over 103° F / 39.4° C. It’s characterized by hot, red, dry, or damp skin and a fast, strong pulse. For more, see this page from the Canadian Red Cross: Heat-Related Emergencies: Staying Cool and Hydrated in Canadian Summers

It’s important to know what to do if you or someone you love is showing signs or symptoms of a heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Fortunately, heat-related illness and death are preventable – that’s why it’s important to be prepared for extreme heat.

For the rest of Emergency Preparedness Week, we’ll highlight a different focus area each day on our social media channels related to extreme heat and its impacts on:

  • Seniors
  • Our homes
  • Pets
  • Children

Share your experience – you could win a prize!

Tell us what you do to prepare for emergencies, and you could be a winner! Submit your photos and stories throughout the month of May to be entered into the grand prize draw to win one of 4 emergency preparedness survival kits. There are three ways to enter:

Emergency Preparedness resources


Contest rules: The fine print

  • To qualify to win, participants must be 18 years of age or older and live in the Northern Health region.
  • All entries must be submitted by May 31, 2022 via Northern Health’s Facebook or email.
  • Submitted photos and stories will be reviewed by Northern Health staff for alignment with Northern Health positions, and are subject to approval.
  • The winner will be determined by a panel of Northern Health staff judges.
  • All announced prize winners are final.
  • Entering the contest does not guarantee that you will win a prize.
  • No purchase is necessary
  • Incomplete entries will not be included in the draw.
  • Northern Health employees are eligible to enter the contest and win, but will not be granted preferential treatment.
  • Winners will be contacted via the method the used to submit their entry
  • Winners must respond and accept their prize by June 11, 2022 or the prize will be redrawn.
  • By entering the contest, you grant Northern Health the rights to use your submitted photo without your future knowledge or consent on Northern Health promotional channels.

Disclaimer: Northern Health is committed to improving the health of people in the North by protecting health and promoting wellness. To ensure consistency of messaging and approach, contest photo entries must be aligned with the Northern Health series of position papers on key risk factors. These position papers are researched and evidence-based. Where activities in photos are not aligned with the framework, messaging, or approach endorsed by Northern Health, those activities will not be promoted and will not qualify to be entered into this contest.