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June 24, 2003
Extreme Heat Alert upgrade for Toronto
The Heat Alert called yesterday by Toronto Public Health has been upgraded to
an Extreme Heat Alert for today, June 24.

This upgrade was triggered by a number of factors that combine to increase the
health risk. These factors include lack of cooling in evening hours, sustained
excessively hot weather, and humidity.

The following Civic Centres are being opened as cooling centres during the
Extreme Heat Alert: Etobicoke, East York, North York and Metro Hall. Metro Hall
will stay open overnight. The other three civic centres are open from 11 a.m.
until 7 p.m.

During the Extreme Heat Alert, Red Cross will work with the City's Emergency
Medical Services and city agencies to 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 an Extreme 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

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. A person suffering from heat stroke experiences a high body
temperature (greater than 40 degrees Celsius), hot, dry skin, and dizziness or
confusion. Anyone who has difficulty breathing or feels confused or disoriented
should seek medical attention immediately.

The City's Hot Weather Response Plan remains activated during the Extreme Heat
· Community Information Toronto contacts 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 operates an information line from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a
week to answer heat-related inquires from the public and respond to requests to
check on those at risk.
· Red Cross co-ordinates delivery of bottled water to agencies that work with
vulnerable populations, and will provide transportation to a cool place if

The Red Cross HEAT INFORMATION LINE is 416-480-2615.

Media contacts:
Toronto Public Health: Susan Sperling, 416-338-7974
Canadian Red Cross: Laura Byers, 416-480-0195, ext. 2253
Emergency Medical Services: Dean Shaddock, 416-338-2151
Shelter, Housing & Support: Rosemary Bennett, 416-392-8386;
pager, 416-328-4402



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