Heat and wildfire smoke cautions

As we continue to experience high temperatures across the province, BCCPA and EngAge BC urges everyone to check in with elderly family members, friends and neighbours and ensure that they are safe, drinking plenty of water and are staying cool. 

To help others stay safe and cool during these summer months, Tri-Cities Seniors’ Action Society has put together some important tips below. 


Safety cautions for heat domes and wildfire smoke conditions are here and are important to follow. An air quality advisory is due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone which are caused by heat combined with wildfire smoke. Exposure is a concern for people who have any of the following: asthma, COPD, other lung diseases, heart diseases, diabetes, respiratory infections, people living outdoors, and older adults, young children, pregnant women and outdoor workers.

It is ideal for vulnerable individuals to go to an indoor space with air-conditioning, if possible, and drink a lot of water. Both clean and cool air is important for anyone at risk, but overheating is more dangerous for most people. Anything people can do to stay cool helps, such as using cool cloths, slightly wet shirts, frozen gel packs wrapped in a thin towel and placed on the neck, armpits and groin, cool showers or feet in cool water, and drinking a lot of liquids. If anyone has chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, seek medical attention immediately.

Cooling centres can be accessed across communities in local recreation centres, libraries, and other community facilities. Local shopping centres are also air-conditioned and are free to use. Cooling centres and misting tents/spray parks should be available during periods of high temperature. We encourage people to call their local mayors and municipal halls to encourage these to be opened.

Heat-Related Illnesses

What To Look For

What To Do

Heat Stroke

High body temperature (103 F or higher)

Hot, red, dry, or damp skin

Fast, strong pulse





Losing consciousness (passing out)

Call 911 right away—heat stroke is a medical emergency


Move the person to a cooler place


Help lower the person’s temperature with cool clothes or a cool bath


Do not give the person anything to drink

Heat Exhaustion
Heavy sweating

Cold, pale, & clammy skin

Fast, weak pulse

Nausea or vomiting

Muscle cramps

Tiredness or weakness



Fainting (passing out)

Move to a cool place

Loosen clothes

Put cool, wet cloths on body or take a cool bath

Sip water


Get medical help right away if:

The person is throwing up

Symptoms get worse

And last longer than 1 hour

Heat Cramps

Heavy sweating during intense exercise

Muscle pain or spasms

Stop physical activity and move to a cool place

Drink water or a sports drink

Wait for crampts to go away


Get medical help right away if:

Cramps last longer than one hour

You’re on a low-sodium diet

You have heart problems


Painful, red, and warm skin

Blisters on the skin

Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals

Put cool clothes on sunburned areas or take a cool bath

Put moisturizing lotion on

Do not break blisters

Heat Rash

Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases) Stay in a cool, dry place

Keep the rash dry

Use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash



Wildfire Smoke

Irritation of eyes, nose, throat and lungs

Shortness of breath

Reduce time spent outdoors

Stay hydrated

Avoid rigorous exercise

Wear an N-95 mask

Keep windows & doors closed

Use a HEPA filter air cleaner

Read Tri-Cities Seniors’ Action Society’s full newsletter here.

For more tips, check out PreparedBC’s Heat Preparedness Guide here.

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