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August 15, 2003
Keeping Cool During Power Outages
Today's weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the low 30's.

With power not completely restored to all areas of the City, and power usage
needing to stay at a minimum to prevent further power outages, many people will
not be able to use air conditioning units and electric fans to cool off.
Toronto Emergency Medical Services has these suggestions for keeping cool.

The public is advised to "Beat the Heat" by taking these precautions:

  • Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices
  • Eat small, light and easily digested meals that don't require heating
  • Wear loose-fitting/light weight clothing
  • Stay out of the blazing sun or heat
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity
  • If you have power, turn off all unnecessary lights and appliances
  • To conserve power across the city, only use air conditioning if medically necessary
  • Open windows out of direct sunlight on opposing walls to create 'cross flow' of air movement in living space
  • Keep curtains drawn and windows only open a crack on the sunny side of your house
  • If possible, fill the bath tub with cool water, and periodically wipe yourself down with a wash cloth
  • Apply cold cloths/ice to pulse points in wrist/neck
  • If possible, store perishable food items in a cooler, rather than your fridge
  • Move to the lower levels of your home, where the temperature is cooler
  • Go to shady areas outdoors, such as parks or covered patios
  • Never leave children and pets unattended in a car

During this difficult time, the public is encouraged to call or visit friends
and neighbours who are at risk of suffering health consequences because of hot
weather. People who are house bound may be particularly vulnerable, as they may
not have working fridges or running water.

People at greatest risk include the elderly, infants and young children, the
chronically ill, the disabled 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.

The City will be holding media briefings throughout the day to respond to any
questions on the above tips.

Media Contact
Access Toronto



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