May 25, 2020 – City to open Emergency Cooling Centres during Heat Warning
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) today issued a Heat Warning for Toronto, which starts today and is forecasted to end Wednesday, May 27.
ECCC issues a Heat Warning when it forecasts two or more consecutive days with daytime maximum temperatures of 31°C or warmer, together with minimum nighttime temperatures of 20°C or warmer, or when there is a forecast of two or more consecutive days with humidex values expected to reach 40 or higher.
Extreme heat is associated with negative health impacts ranging from heat stress to heat stroke and death. During periods of hot weather, the safety of all residents is the priority.
The City’s Heat Relief Strategy has been updated for the 2020 hot weather season, in response to COVID-19, to ensure that emergency heat relief opportunities are available and accessible to those who may need them. Many facilities that were part of the City’s 2019 Heat Relief Network of cool spaces across Toronto are closed due to COVID-19. For this reason, the City’s plan for heat relief this year has been modified and includes a select number of Emergency Cooling Centres that will open across Toronto during Heat Warnings. The Emergency Cooling Centres are offered to residents as a last resort, if they do not have access to a cool space and cannot keep cool in their home or outdoors.
Starting tomorrow at 11 a.m., six locations will offer a publicly accessible, air-conditioned place to rest indoors and receive a cool drink. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat will be on hand. Strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.
Emergency Cooling Centres will operate at the following community centres from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Wallace Emerson Community Centre, 1260 Dufferin St.
- Regent Park Community Centre, 402 Shuter St.
- Malvern Community Centre Arena, 30 Sewells Rd.
- Scarborough Village Community Centre Arena, 3600 Kingston Rd.
- Amesbury Arena, 155 Culford Dr.
- Domenico DiLuca Community Centre, 25 Stanley Rd.
An interactive map is available to help those who need to locate an Emergency Cooling Centre near them:
The City’s full 2020 Heat Relief Strategy, along with more Emergency Cooling Centre locations to be opened during Heat Warnings will be announced soon.
Streets to Homes outreach team is currently doing wellness checks for clients who live outdoors. During a Heat Warning, the Streets to Homes outreach team will continue with wellness checks and also advise clients of the open Emergency Cooling Centre locations and the TTC assistance to get them to a site, provide them with water, and recommend, if they stay outdoors, to move to a shaded area.
The City’s updated 2020 Heat Relief Strategy reflects the current public health advice related to COVID-19, with guidance for safely operating apartment building cooling rooms and other tips for apartment building landlords and tenants. More information for landlords is available at: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/rental-housing-standards/apartment-building-standards/rentsafeto-for-building-owners/.
Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call, text or video chat with those clients who are at increased risk of heat-related illness during Heat Warnings.
There are a number of actions individuals can take to beat the heat and stay safe:
- Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water even before you feel thirsty.
- Check on others. Call, text or video chat with family, friends and neighbours (especially older adults living alone) to make sure they’re staying hydrated and keeping cool.
- Take cool showers or baths or use cool, wet towels to cool down.
- Use a fan near an open window to bring in cooler air from outside.
- Avoid the sun. Stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
- Dress for the weather. Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, if outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Block the sun. Keep blinds or curtains closed during the day.
- Protect people and pets. Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car.
- Avoid using the oven or stove; they make your space hotter.
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist on medications that increase your risk to heat.
- Do not leave hand sanitizer in cars; hand sanitizer poses a fire risk and can ignite due to its high alcohol content.
- In an emergency, always call 911. Call 911 if you have or someone you are with has a high body temperature, is confused, is unconscious, or has fainted.
More tips to protect yourself from the heat are available at https://www.toronto.ca/keepcool. When a Heat Warning is declared, those who need assistance or have heat-related inquiries can call 311.
Information to help residents prepare for extreme weather and weatherproof their homes is available at https://www.toronto.ca/extremeweatherready.
Air pollution often increases during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and parents/guardians of young children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts available at https://weather.gc.ca/airquality/pages/onaq-001_e.html.
Individuals are encouraged to download Environment and Climate Change Canada’s WeatherCAN app to stay up to date on heat warnings and special weather statements. Information on WeatherCAN can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/weather-general-tools-resources/weathercan.html.