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July 16, 2002
Heat Emergency called for Toronto
The Heat Alert called yesterday by Toronto Public Health has been upgraded to a
Heat Emergency for today, July 16. This is the first Heat Emergency this year.

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 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. 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.

During the Heat Emergency, the City's Hot Weather Response Plan remains
  • 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. 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 who work with vulnerable populations, and will provide transportation to a cool place if needed.
  • Homeless shelters allow people to stay inside during the day to keep cool.

Media contacts:
Toronto Public Health: Dr. Bonnie Henry, 416-338-7267
Canadian Red Cross: Laura Byers, 416-480-0195, ext. 2253
Emergency Medical Services: Tom Murray, 416-338-2151
Shelter, Housing & Support: Phil Brown, 416-392-7885,
cell, 416-435-8267

Media Contact
see Media Contacts above



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