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June 23, 2003
Heat Alert issued for Toronto
  
Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, has issued a heat alert
for today, Monday, June 23, and tomorrow, Tuesday, June 24.

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 and libraries
· Never leave children and pets unattended in a car

During a Heat Alert 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 illness).

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 Alert, a Hot Weather Response Plan is activated. It includes the
following:
· Community Information Toronto will contact more than 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.
· Community Information Toronto will provide transportation to a cool place
when needed.
· Red Cross will operate an information line from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to answer
heat-related inquires from the public and respond to requests to check on those
at risk.
· Red Cross will co-ordinate delivery of bottled water to agencies where
vulnerable people may gather.
· Homeless shelters will allow people to stay inside during the day to keep
cool.

During a heat alert, people can call the Red Cross HEAT INFORMATION LINE at
416-480-2615.

Media contacts:
Toronto Public Health: Susan Sperling, 416-338-7974
Emergency Medical Services: Dean Shaddock, 416-338-0473
Canadian Red Cross: Laura Byers, 416-480-0195, ext. 2253



 

 

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