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Warmer temperatures prompt safety reminder from BC Coroners Service

June 26th, 2024

With the arrival of summer and warmer temperatures, the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) is urging people to take extra care and plan ahead in the event of extreme-weather conditions.

According to updated data from BCCS, there were 11 suspected heat-related deaths in 2023. All such deaths were reported between May and August, with more than 80% occurring in July and August.

The report also found:

  • approximately two-thirds of the deaths were among people over 60;
  • males accounted for nearly three-quarters of heat-related deaths in the province; and
  • the Interior Health Authority recorded the most deaths (five).

Extreme heat can have devastating consequences. In June and July 2021, 619 people died due to record-high temperatures in British Columbia. A BCCS death review panel identified several areas where loss of life could be prevented during extreme-heat events. The primary point was better identifying and supporting vulnerable populations.

This summer, in the event of unusually high temperatures:

  • check on family, friends and neighbours, especially those who are elderly and living alone;
  • visit cooler environments, such as cooling centres, malls, libraries and other air-conditioned community spaces;
  • stay hydrated and avoid physical activities outside; and
  • never leave children or pets alone in a parked car.

The data presented in the report is considered preliminary and subject to change as investigations conclude.

Learn More:

Knowledge update – heat-related deaths in 2023: https://www2.gov.bc.ca//assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/bccs_heat_death_knowledge_update_2023.pdf

Extreme Heat and Human Mortality: A Review of Heat-Related Deaths in B.C. in Summer 2021: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/death-review-panel/extreme_heat_death_review_panel_report.pdf

Province of British Columbia: Be prepared for extreme heat and drought: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-management/preparedbc/know-your-hazards/severe-weather/extreme-heat

Categories: GeneralHealth

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