Another hot summer for BC


(Provided by Vista Radio Staff)

Another hot summer is forecast for much of British Columbia and the province is taking various measures with health authorities to keep people safe.

Today (Friday, May 31), the Government of British Columbia announced several measures, including:

* Expanding the free portable air conditioning program to reach 19,000 additional eligible households;

* Supporting further improvements in long-term care and assisted living facilities to protect older people from the impacts of climate change through a $6 million grant to the BC Care Providers Association’s EquipCare BC program; and

* Place heat warnings on highway signs to inform people about expected extreme heat events, similar to wildfire, construction and traffic safety alerts.

In addition, the province has developed new guidelines to clarify regulations regarding the installation of air conditioning units and to better assist tenants and landlords with safe installation.

“With a hot summer forecast for next summer, now is the time to take steps to prepare yourself and your family to keep you safe and prepared for the potential impacts of extreme heat and wildfire smoke,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.

“Poor air quality and extreme heat are growing health risks that can have significant impacts on people's health. We want people to be aware of the potential for extreme summer weather and know what they can do to stay safe and manage and reduce risks.”

In addition, there is a $6 million grant to expand the BC Care Providers Association's EquipCare program to improve long-term care and assisted living facilities.

The money will be used to improve the living environment in these facilities by installing infection control and temperature control equipment for air and water quality, such as air conditioning, blinds and electrical upgrades, which are necessary to protect older people from the impacts of recurring extreme weather events and poor air quality resulting from wildfires.

“We are taking action to ensure British Columbia’s most vulnerable people are protected from the extreme heat caused by climate change,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

“By tripling funding for the Free Portable Air Conditioners program administered by BC Hydro, we are making it easier for British Columbians to keep their homes cool this summer.”

Since last summer, BC Hydro has provided over 6,000 free air conditioners to people across the province, and thousands more are scheduled to be installed in the coming months through the Free Portable Air Conditioners program.

To prepare for the heat, the province is also reimbursing local governments and First Nations for eligible costs to open community cooling centres.

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