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July 16, 2008
Extreme Heat Alert declared, Cooling Centres open
  
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has issued an Extreme Heat Alert for today. The Extreme Heat Alert will be in effect until further notice.

During an Extreme Heat Alert, the public is encouraged to call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness. Other at risk groups include people with chronic illnesses, including mental illness, infants and young children, people on certain medications and those who are marginally housed or homeless.

In addition to using air conditioned shopping malls, local libraries and neighbourhood community centres as places to cool off, Cooling Centres are open during Extreme Heat Alerts for those in need. The City has expanded the number of Cooling Centres to seven this year (up from five), available at the following locations:
• Metro Hall - 55 John St. (King St. W. at John St.)
• East York Civic Centre - 850 Coxwell Ave. (Coxwell Ave., south of O’Connor Dr.)
• North York Civic Centre - 5100 Yonge St. (Yonge St., north of Sheppard Ave. W.)
• Driftwood Community Centre - 4401 Jane St. (Jane St., north of Finch Ave. W.)
• Etobicoke Olympium - 590 Rathburn Rd. (Rathburn Rd. at Melbert Rd.)
• Heron Park Community Centre - 292 Manse Rd. (Manse Rd. south of Lawrence Ave. E.)
• Centennial Recreation Centre - 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (Ellesmere Rd. west of Dolly Varden Blvd.)

Water and snacks are available at the seven Cooling Centres. Additional information on supports to help people cool off is available at http://www.toronto.ca/housing/cooling-centres.htm.

The public is also advised to “Beat the Heat” by taking these precautions:
• Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices
• Go to air conditioned places, including shopping malls or one of many local libraries and community centres located in each neighbourhood
• Stay out of the blazing sun or heat
• Reduce strenuous physical outdoor activity, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Never leave the elderly, children or pets unattended in a car

Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for residents to escape the heat.

Those in need of assistance or have heat related inquiries may call the Canadian Red Cross Heat Information Line at 416-480-2615 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

For more information on How to Beat the Heat visit http://www.toronto.ca/health

Often high air pollution occurs during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts available at http://www.airhealth.ca

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Toronto Public Health Media Hotline, 416-338-7974
Tanya Elliott, Canadian Red Cross, 905-890-1000 ext. 202, 416-442-1948 (pager)

For information about the Cooling Centres (Monday - Friday, business hours only):
Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, 416-397-1384, ESmyer@toronto.ca

__________________________________________________________________________

Fact Sheet

July 16, 2008

Toronto Cooling Centres open during Extreme Heat Alerts

When the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health declares an Extreme Heat Alert, the City’s Hot Weather Response Plan is activated to ensure the safety of Toronto’s most vulnerable citizens.

During an Extreme Heat Alert, the City opens seven emergency cooling centres in addition to the 121 community centres and 99 public libraries that are available as places to cool down. These locations are:
• Metro Hall - 55 John St. (King St. W. at John St.)
• East York Civic Centre - 850 Coxwell Ave. (Coxwell Ave., south of O’Connor Dr.)
• North York Civic Centre - 5100 Yonge St. (Yonge St., north of Sheppard Ave. W.)
• Driftwood Community Centre - 4401 Jane St, (Jane St., north of Finch Ave.W)
• Etobicoke Olympium - 590 Rathburn Rd. (Rathburn Rd. at Melbert Rd.)
• Heron Park Community Centre - 292 Manse Rd. (Manse Rd. south of Lawrence Ave. E.)
• Centennial Recreation Centre - 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (Ellesmere Rd. west of Dolly Varden Blvd.)

Metro Hall is open 24 hours and all other locations are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Cooling Centres continue to operate until Toronto Public Health declares the Extreme Heat Alert to be over. Pets are welcome at these seven locations during an Extreme Heat Alert. CPR-trained staff are available for the overnight cooling centre at Metro Hall. Defibrillators are also available on-site.

The Cooling Centres are open for all Torontonians. Prolonged periods of extremely hot weather may increase the risk of health effects for many vulnerable populations, including, the elderly, infants, young children, pregnant women, the chronically ill, the homeless and those taking certain medications.

Community Information Toronto (211) contacts over 800 community agencies working with vulnerable populations to advise them of extra precautions to take during a heat alert.

Sixteen drop-in centres across the city have 2,400 TTC tokens available for use by homeless clients during Extreme Heat Alerts. This summer, some drop-in centres will receive special City funding to remain open on weekends and public holidays. They include:

• Agincourt Community Services Association , 4155 Sheppard Ave. E., Suite 100. Open Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Evangel Hall Mission, 552 Adelaide St. W. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Good Neighbours’ Club (men over 50 yrs.), 170 Jarvis St. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, 1499 Queen St. W. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• St. John the Compassionate Mission, 155 Broadview Ave. Open Saturdays and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sundays from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
• Street Haven (women only), 87 Pembroke St. Open Sundays, and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Syme-Woolner Neighbourhood & Family Centre, 2468 Eglinton Ave. W. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Of the 65 shelter sites in Toronto, 61 are partially or totally air conditioned. During an Extreme Heat Alert shelters will allow people to stay inside during the day to keep cool.

The Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre is running a City-funded pilot project to design and deliver a Heat Registry, so it can contact and check up on vulnerable tenants in the area. If successful, the model may be transferable to other parts of Toronto in the future.

During the Extreme Heat Alert, citizens can call the Red Cross Heat Information Line at 416-480-2615 or can visit http://www.toronto.ca/housing for more information.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division, 416-397-1384, ESmyer@toronto.ca


 

 

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