The City of Vancouver is encouraging residents to track indoor temperatures this summer as part of a study to inform regulations and policies to combat extreme heat.
The survey follows the deadly heat dome two years ago and is intended to provide the city, the Coastal Health Department of Vancouver and the BC Center for Disease Control with data for programs “to protect residents and provide more cooling space,” the city announced Monday.
“The survey takes about six minutes to complete, and room temperature can be measured using a digital wall thermostat, a free-standing thermometer, a food grade thermometer, or a standard manual thermometer,” the news release said.
“Respondents are encouraged to record temperatures in the late afternoon or early evening when indoor temperatures are at their highest.”
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About 6,000 residents have submitted results to date. The city said it expects the survey to be the last.
Results so far show that residents are becoming more concerned about climate change, and that concern is heightened during periods of extreme heat. The survey also found that many people take advantage of opportunities to cool off outside their homes.
In June, the BC government announced a $10 million grant to provide air conditioning to an estimated 8,000 vulnerable residents over the next three years.
More than 600 people died in the state’s record-breaking hot dome from June 25 to July 1, 2021. Lytton Village, in particular, set a national record for the highest temperature ever recorded on June 29, 2021 at 49.5 degrees Celsius.
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In the wake of the casualties, a BC coroner’s office report recommended changes to the state’s building code to require “passive and active cooling” in both new and existing developments by 2024. Passive cooling includes building design options such as insulation, airtightness, ventilation, and shading. Mechanical or active options include heat pumps and air conditioning.
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The report, released last August, found that 98 percent of the 2021 heatwave deaths were indoors, with most victims “living in areas that are socially or materially disadvantaged” compared to the general population. It is estimated that 93% did not have air conditioning and 76% may not have had fans.
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Vancouver indoor temperature survey published online Until September 10th.
Residents are asked to record information about indoor temperatures on hot days, as well as information about building characteristics and obstacles they experience in obtaining cool weather inside and outside their homes.
The city recommends looking for air-conditioned spaces or public cooling facilities if the indoor temperature exceeds 31 degrees. That list is available online. There is also a map of public fountains and mist stations available in the summer. Available on city website.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, headache, extremely dry mouth, muscle cramps, dark urination and new skin rashes, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.
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