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August 12, 2002
Heat alert extended
Toronto Public Health is extending the City of Toronto's current heat alert
through today. The heat alert was called on Sunday, August 11.

Prolonged periods of heat may increase the risk of health effects for those
populations most vulnerable, such as the elderly, infants, young children, the
chronically ill, and those taking certain medications (e.g., for mental

The public is advised to take extra precautions during this second day of the

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

The public is advised to "beat the heat" by taking these
  • 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, a hot weather response plan is activated. It includes the
  • Community Information Toronto will contact over 800 community agencies working with vulnerable populations 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 will co-ordinate the delivery of bottled water to agencies who work with vulnerable populations, and will provide transportation to a cool place if needed.
  • 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:
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7267
Laura Byers, Canadian Red Cross, 416-480-0195, ext. 2253
Dean Shaddock, Emergency Medical Services, 416-370-9866
Phil Brown, Shelter, Housing & Support, 416-392-7885,
cell, 416-435-8267

Media Contact
see Media Contacts above



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