Extreme Heat Resources

Our summers are getting hotter with more extremely hot days due to climate change.

There are things that you can do and resources that are available to reduce the impacts on you and your community during extreme heat events. 

Stay Cool!

Learn what you can do to stay cool by reading the City's Extreme Heat fact sheet [PDF - 182 KB] which includes helpful information and a map of the locations of public spaces to cool off, the City's 13 misting/water bottle filling stations (available for use throughout the summer), drinking fountains and community water features. 

View these amenities on our online Extreme Heat VicMap

Tips to Keep Children Cool

Here are some tips from Health Canada [PDF - 3 MB] to help protect your children from extreme heat.

Tips to Keep Pets Cool

Check out these tips from the BCSPCA [PDF - 161 KB] on how to keep your pets cool.

Preparing Before Summer

There are many things you can do to prepare for extreme heat events. PreparedBC has created the Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide to help individuals, families, and communities get prepared. 

Some preparedness examples include identifying family and community members who might be at risk such as those who live alone or older adults who have limited mobility; evaluating if you can stay home or if there are areas of your home that are cooler; and identifying locations where you can go to cool down such as malls, libraries and green spaces with shade. 

Extreme heat helpful resources are available below. 

Check out the Four Steps to Emergency Preparedness to learn more about how to prepare for all types of emergencies.

Heat Alerts

There are three categories of heat alerts issued by Environment Canada and Climate Change

A Special Weather Statement may be issued for the first heat event of the year, providing local governments time to provide helpful heat preparation information to communities before it gets hot.

A Heat Warning will be declared when daytime high temperatures are forecasted to reach at least 29 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days, with the nighttime lows not falling below 16 degrees Celsius. 

An Extreme Heat Emergency will be declared when the criteria for a Heat Warning is expected to last for three or more consecutive days, with temperatures continuing to increase. 


City-Run Cooling Centres 

If an Extreme Heat Emergency is declared, the City will activate its Heat Response Plan. City-run cooling centres will be opened, if required. These centres will be air-conditioned indoor spaces for the public when outdoor or indoor temperatures at home become dangerous.

Locations of heat-related resources will be communicated to residents using the City’s social media channels on Twitter and Facebook and through the City’s emergency notification system Vic-Alert.

For more information on extreme heat resources in Greater Victoria, visit: Local Emergency Program Websites

Drought and Water Conservation

The City of Victoria is part of the Regional Water Supply System that is managed by the CRD. For information and resources on drought levels and water conservation visit Water Conservation | CRD. Here are some helpful tips to conserve water.

  1. What to do During Extreme Heat

    There are many things that you can do to limit the impacts of heat when the temperatures spike. Check out the list below:

    • If you do not have air conditioning, find somewhere with air conditioning especially if you are at increased risk. Spend time in cooler indoor spaces in the community like shopping centres or libraries.  If you do have air conditioning, consider sharing your space with higher risk friends and family members.
    • Sleep in the coolest room of the house, even if that is not your bedroom. Sleeping in the basement or outside will provide relief to the body overnight, if possible.  Set that space up for comfort, being sure you have water to drink and easy access to a toilet.
    • Shut windows and close shutters, curtains, or blinds in the morning to keep cooler air in and to keep the sun out. Leaving windows open during the day lets the hot air indoors. Open windows and doors when the outdoor temperature goes down below the indoor temperature at night.
    • Make meals that do not need to be cooked in an oven.
    • Protect yourself from the sun by staying in the shade, avoiding direct sun mid-day, wearing a hat and protective clothing, using sunscreen, and wearing UV-protective eyewear.
    • Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors, such as large parks with water features and lots of trees.
    • Important: If you are experiencing extreme heat during an air quality advisory, prioritize cooling down. Heat is typically more dangerous than short-term exposure to poor air quality.
    • If you cannot access air conditioning and/or a cool room, consider:
      • wearing a damp shawl or shirt
      • sitting in a cool or tepid bath to draw heat from the body into the water
      • taking a cool shower
      • using a damp sheet at night
      • putting an ice tray in front of a fan
      • using a personal mister or spray bottle 
    • Important: While fans can help you feel more comfortable, they do not work to lower body temperature for older people at temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius.
    • Drink lots of water, even if you do not feel thirsty, especially during warm nights.  Pay attention to the amount and colour of your urine.  Dark yellow urine is a sign of dangerous dehydration.
    • Lower your activity level and avoid intense activity. It takes time for your body to adapt to heat. If you need to do errands, do them when it is cooler outside, early or late in the day.
    • Watch out for severe headache, confusion, unsteadiness, loss of thirst or nausea and vomiting - they are signs of dangerous heat-related illness.
    • If you are experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness, take immediate action to cool down and call for help. 
    For more information on preparing for extreme heat, visit the PrepareBC website.
  2. Caring for Vulnerable People

    High temperatures impact certain groups of people more than others. People over 65, people with multiple health conditions, young children, infants and pregnant people could be more vulnerable.  Additionally, people who live alone, have no access to air conditioning, use substances or take certain medications may also be at increased risk.   

    • Check on people at higher risk in-person to evaluate their health and the temperature indoors. If you cannot check in-person, ask them to tell you what it says on their thermostat or indoor thermometer. 
    • Encourage those who may not know they are at higher risk to take cool baths, sleep in the coolest room, or stay with friends.
    • Never leave children, dependent adults, or pets alone in a parked car   – leaving windows open will not help.

    Outreach and other community organizations working with vulnerable groups may use the following printable pamphlet to communicate heat safety to their clients. 

  3. Signs of Heat Related Illness

    It is important to be able to identify the signs of heat-related illness and to know the appropriate response for the stage or severity of illness.  Mild to moderate heat-related illness, known as heat exhaustion, can be treated at home if you have access to a cool space and plenty of fluids.  Severe heat related illness, or heat stroke, is a medical emergency.   

    Symptoms of heat exhaustion. Move to a cool place and drink plenty of water if experiencing the following:

    • Extreme thirst
    • Skin rash
    • Muscle cramps
    • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
    • Headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Heavy sweating
    • Dark urine and decreased urination
    Heat stroke is a severe form of heat-related illness and requires medical treatment.  If someone is experiencing the following symptoms call 911; while waiting for help cool the affected person by applying cool water with a damp towel and fan as much as possible. 

    Symptoms of heat stroke may progress from previous symptoms of heat exhaustion, to also include:

    • Very high body temperature
    • Dizziness, fainting, loss of consciousness
    • Confusion and lack of coordination
    • NO sweating
    • Hot, red skin

    For more information on heat-related illnesses visit the Health Link BC Website

  4. Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe

    If your pet is accidentally locked in your car or you see a pet locked in a car, call 911. If you see a pet in distress due to the heat, call 311. Check out this flyer for what to do if you come across a dog in a hot car: [PDF - 510 KB]

    Pets are at the greatest risk of injury and heat-related health problems during the summer months. Follow these tips to keep your pet safe and cool:

    • Provide plenty of fresh water - keep pets hydrated during hot weather by ensuring they always have access to fresh water, whether at home or on daily walks and outings.
    • Watch out for sunburn - short-haired pets and those with pink skin or white hair are most likely to burn. To prevent sunburn, control your pet’s exposure to the sun by limiting the amount of time outdoors and providing shade.
    • Find a cool place for your pet - use a fan or air-conditioning to keep your home cool.
    • Provide shade outdoors - a gentle sprinkle from a garden hose is helpful to keep your pets cool.
    • Never leave a pet unattended in hot weather on balconies or in unsheltered backyards.
    • Watch how much pets eat and exercise - overeating during hot weather can lead to overheating, so feed your pets less.
    • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
    • Never leave your pet in a parked car - during the summer, as the outside air temperature increases, temperatures inside of a vehicle can reach dangerously high levels. Slightly opening windows or parking in the shade does not prevent temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.
    Watch for signs of heat stroke:
    • Rapid panting
    • Lots of drooling
    • Hot skin
    • Twitching muscles
    • Vomiting

    Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate intervention. Act quickly to cool down your pet by moving your pet to a shaded area, pouring cool water over your pet and contacting a veterinarian immediately.  For more information on keeping pets safe during extreme heat, see the BC SPCA website

  5. Other Resources