Environment Canada’s heat warnings on Thursday covers a large part of Southern Alberta, including the Red Deer region.

Red Deer under heat warning as temperatures continue to soar

Difficult time for homeless population trying to stay cool

If there’s one thing the Safe Harbour Society needs today in Red Deer, it’s water bottles to give out to those in need.

Executive director Kath Hoffman said Thursday that with the current heat wave, people are trying to stay cool and many have options such as basements and air-conditioned homes and cars. But for those who are homeless and walking around looking for shade and trying to stay cool, “It can be difficult.”

The non-profit organization, that operates a homeless shelter and related programs, is always in need of water bottles, but more so now, she said.

If people have extra water bottles at home, they can donate them to Safe Harbour, located at 5246 53 Ave., Hoffman said. Safe Harbour fills the bottles and hands them out.

“That is our biggest need in this heat. That’s the best way we can help them. Just keep giving them water.”

“You can shine your light on Safe Harbour by dropping off some water bottles.”

So far they hadn’t encountered any heat-related problems with the population they help, Hoffman said.

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Red Deer and the entire south and southeast toe of the province, east of the Rocky Mountains to the Saskatchewan border.

The temperature was expected to reach 28 C in Red Deer on Thursday, although it will feel like 31 C because of humidity. The high temperature on Friday is forecast to be 29 C on Friday, and 28 C Saturday and Sunday. It’s expected to be an unusually long duration high temperature event lasting into next week.

Red Deer Air Quality Health Index was showing low risk Thursday and Friday.

Animals also at risk

Alberta Health Services advises there are several groups of people at higher risk during a heat event. These include older adults/seniors and individuals with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. Individuals taking certain medicines may also be at increased risk of heat impact as some medicines interfere with the body’s ability to maintain normal temperature.

Infants and children, socially isolated or housebound individuals and outdoor workers can also be at greater risk.

Monica Morrison, executive direction of the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre, said seniors were participating in programs at the centre as per usual on Thursday. Normally they tell seniors during a heat event to drink plenty of fluids, wear light clothing, stay in or find an air-conditioned space if possible.

Symptoms of heat stroke can include: high body temperature, lack of sweat, disorientation, fainting and unconsciousness.

Alberta Health Services advises that if you start to feel overheated, stop your activity immediately, seek shade and drink fluids.

l Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day. Take frequent breaks from heat, spending time indoors at cooled public buildings (including malls or indoor pools).

l Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.

l Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle.

l Apply a sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30, at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Be sure the SPF 30 screens out both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply frequently as directed on product label.

l Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses (with a UVA/UVB CSA certified seal).

l Wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover skin.

barr@reddeeradvocate.com

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