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August 7, 2001
Mayor declares Heat Emergency for Toronto
The Mayor of Toronto is calling a Heat Emergency for today, August 7, and
tomorrow, Wednesday August 8. This is the first Heat Emergency called by the
City of Toronto.

As part of the emergency the following Civic Centres are being opened as
cooling centres: York, East York, North York and Metro Hall. Metro Hall will
stay open overnight today and tomorrow and the other three civic centres will
stay open until 7 p.m.

During the emergency, Red Cross will work with the city's Emergency Medical
Services and city agencies to help bring people in immediate need of heat
relief to one of the four civic centres.

The public is advised to "Beat the Heat" by taking these precautions: drink
lots of water and natural fruit juices; stay out of the blazing sun or heat;
avoid strenuous physical activity outdoors; go to places that are air
conditioned, including shopping malls, libraries, community centres or one of
the four cooling centres. Never leave children and pets unattended in a car.

During a Heat Emergency the public is encouraged to call or visit friends and
neighbours who are at risk of suffering health consequences because of hot
weather. People at greatest risk include the elderly, infants and young
children, the chronically ill, and those taking medications (e.g., for mental

Signs of heat illness include rapid breathing, headache, weakness or fainting,
confusion, and more tiredness than usual.

The most severe health effect of heat is heat stroke, when the body temperature
is greater than 40.6 degrees Celsius, with no sweating, and altered
consciousness or coma. Anyone who has difficulty breathing or feels confused or
disoriented should seek medical attention immediately.

During a Heat Emergency (and Heat Alert), a Hot Weather Response Plan is
activated. It includes the following:

- Community Information Toronto will contact over 800 community agencies
working with vulnerable populations, such as elderly and isolated seniors and
the homeless, to advise them of extra precautions to take during a heat alert.

- Red Cross will operate an information line from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to answer
heat-related inquires from the public and respond to requests to check on those
at risk.

- Red Cross and Out of the Cold will co-ordinate delivery of bottled water to
agencies where vulnerable people may gather, and will provide transportation
to a cool place if needed.

- Homeless shelters will allow people to stay inside during the day to keep

During a heat emergency people can call the Red Cross HEAT INFORMATION LINE at

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