Safety measures in place as heat warning declared for Okanagan – Okanagan

At Centennial Food Solutions in Kelowna, British Columbia, employees have an easy way to beat the heat.

“There’s no question that this is the coolest job in town,” said branch manager Glenn Gartner.

Workers will spend most of the day in a freezer set at -18°C.

“They work eight hours a day here. They take coffee breaks and lunch breaks, but they spend most of the work day here,” Gartner said.

The cool weather may sound pleasant with the Okanagan state having a heat warning on Thursday.

“So any time temperatures are expected to exceed 35 degrees Celsius for two days in a row and drop below 18 degrees overnight, an alert will be issued,” said Lance Cayfish, risk manager for the City of Kelowna.

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Click to play video: 'How to stay cool during a BC heat wave'

How to stay cool during the BC heat wave

The new warning system was developed in response to the 2021 heat wave dome that claimed the lives of about 600 people across BC.

“I think the Heat Dome and 2021 have been a real eye-opener for the community and the state as a whole,” Kayfish said.

“Frankly, I think this is a bit of a wake-up call about climate change and what we have to think about going forward.”

According to WorkSafe BC, workers most at risk of heat stress include those working on farms, restaurants, kitchens, factories and construction sites.

“It’s pretty tough.

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Interior Health urges the public to take precautions such as using fans and air conditioning to keep cool, seeking shelter in places like malls and libraries if there is no air conditioning in the home, closing curtains and blinds to keep out the heat, and checking people who may be at high risk of heatstroke.

Those at risk include Kelowna’s homeless residents.

Gospel Mission executive director Carmen Lempel told Global News that the organization has launched the Operation Heatwave initiative to triple its outreach services.

That means extra support and extra testing for people sheltering outdoors in the sweltering heat.

The city also installed mist stations on the Queensway Bus Loop downtown to keep people safe.

“The Mist Station is really for everyone in the area, but certainly some of our sheltered residents appreciate that they might otherwise have no place to go,” Kayfish said.

Temperatures are expected to drop to the low 20s early next week.

Click to play video: 'New report makes dire predictions about future extreme heat events'

New report makes dire predictions for future heat waves

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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