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Unprecedented heatwave hits parts of Canada and the western US

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Posted at 11:46 AM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 13:47:31-04

An unprecedented heatwave in Canada and western portions of the United States has proven deadly in recent days.

Authorities in Canada, Oregon, and Washington state are investigating hundreds of deaths believed to be caused by scorching temperatures.

A record-breaking temperature of 117.5 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in British Columbia this week. That’s about 48 degrees above what’s normal for this time of year.

“It doesn’t feel like Vancouver, but it’s an interesting experience. Yeah, it’s been nice sitting outside, but basically been consuming gallons of water the whole time,” said resident Alex Fraser.

Seattle, Portland, and many other cities also broke all-time heat records, with temperatures in some places reaching above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Officials are asking people to check in on those susceptible to the heat, including the elderly and people with underlying health issues.

“Whether you have heart or breathing problems, or even if you’re an elderly person, sometimes you just don’t cope as well in the heat and sun.” Stuart Brideaux with Calgary EMS.

Many homes in Vancouver, much like Seattle, don’t have air conditioning, leaving people ill-prepared for soaring temperatures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends those at the greatest risk for heat-related illness to take the following protective actions:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can; contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during extreme heat
  • Drink more water than usual; don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink
  • Check on friends and neighbors and have people do the same for you
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook