In January 2022, the BC Health Effects of Anomalous Temperatures Coordinating Committee (BC HEAT Committee) was established to support planning and response efforts related to the public health impacts of significant heat events in British Columbia. The overarching objective of this committee is to ensure public health coordination around extreme hot weather. Key priorities of the BC HEAT Committee are the identification of consistent public health actions and messages for the heat alerting system in BC, and the creation of a second level of heat alert criteria that would trigger an elevated response. These priorities evolved into the creation and implementation of a two-tier heat alert and response system (HARS) for the province. The two tiers are: Heat Warning and Extreme Heat Emergency.
Emergency Management BC, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and BC Public Health will lead the BC heat alert response system coordination efforts. The Town will post heat alert response system messaging when the activation criteria are met, provide indoor and outdoor cooling and heat relief spaces, and encourage neighbour health checks to support community resiliency.
Criteria for Activation
Under the BC HARS protocol, Oliver falls under a “southeast” region of the province. The criteria for a heat warning (alert level one) to be issued in the southeast region is a 35-18-35 forecast, which means a daytime high greater than or equal to 35 degrees Celsius and overnight low greater than or equal to 18 degrees Celsius forecast for two consecutive days. These events are considered a moderate public health risk and occur one to three times per summer season.
An extreme heat emergency (alert level two) is issued when the heat warning criteria has been met and the forecast indicates that daily highs will substantively increase day-over-day for three or more consecutive days. Extreme heat events occur 1-2 times per decade are considered to pose a very high public health risk.
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