A new heat warning system will warn Nova Scotians when hot and humid weather has the potential to be harmful.
Alerts will be issued through the Heat Alert and Response System to inform Nova Scotians and community response partners when a heat event is coming. The new system is a partnership between Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.
“As the impacts of climate change continue, it is expected that heat events will become more frequent,” said acting Health and Wellness Minister Kelly Regan. “Extreme heat and humidity can pose risks to the health of Nova Scotians so we want to ensure we have the right tools in place to mitigate that risk.”
Heat warnings are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada to inform the public when air temperature and/or humidex are forecast to be above defined criteria for two consecutive days so that they can take action to protect themselves from the risks associated with extreme heat.
The criteria are:
— a daytime temperature of 29 degrees Celsius or higher and nighttime temperature of 16 degrees Celsius or higher
— a humidex of 36 degrees Celsius or higher.
“Infants, young children, adults 65 and older, and people with chronic conditions such as lung or heart problems are especially vulnerable to becoming sick due to high heat and humidity,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “Heat alerts will remind Nova Scotians to adjust their daily activities to avoid illness.”
Nova Scotians are reminded to take the following actions to prevent heat stress during a heat alert:
— stay in shaded, or cool, air-conditioned areas
— drink plenty of water
— wear light-coloured clothing
— exercise or work outside during a cooler part of the day, and take breaks often
— do not leave children, infants or pets unattended in vehicles
— check on older neighbours and others vulnerable to heat-related illness, and offer air-conditioned shelter and water if needed
New heat warning systems have been in place in Ontario since 2015 and all Prairie provinces since 2017. The same system is being introduced in all Atlantic provinces, British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories this summer. All Environment and Climate Change Canada warnings can be viewed at https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html .