October 3, 2022

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With temperatures in Lethbridge forecast to rise into the 30s consistently for the next week, city officials are preparing to respond to some of the challenges that can come with prolonged heat.

According to the city, a heat warning is issued in Alberta when daytime highs exceed 32 degrees Celsius, and nighttime lows stay above 16 degrees, for two or more consecutive days.

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The City of Lethbridge has extreme temperature response protocols in place for both extreme heat and cold, which is issued when the temperature or wind chill is expected to reach minus 40 degrees Celsius for at least two hours.

“With emergency management we have an all-hazards response team, and pretty much what we do is work with all the stakeholders — so the provincial government and other stakeholders — to keep up on the climate forecasting and try to get ahead on these things,” said Mike Fox, the city’s director of community services.

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The city put out messaging on social media on Monday reminding residents to be cognizant of the impacts that prolonged heat can have, reminding people to stay hydrated and be aware of how much time they’re spending in the sun, as well as asking that everyone be mindful of their use of electric appliances to help prevent overloading the power grid.

Lethbridge Fire and EMS Chief Greg Adair says first responders are ready to react when calls start coming in.

“We will always see some heat related injuries — or cold related injuries, emergencies — as we reach those extremes,” Adair said. “But our crews, working with Alberta Health Services, are ready and posed to respond to those appropriately and quickly, should they come into play.”

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Officials say the city is also ready to support its most vulnerable population, as they are at higher risk during extreme temperatures without access to shelter.

A group of community organizations have been listed by the city has available to help during prolonged heat:

  • Alpha House Society Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter
  • Wood’s Homes Youth Connections
  • YWCA Harbour House
  • Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society
  • Streets Alive Mission
  • Lethbridge Public Library Main Branch
  • Lethbridge Soup Kitchen
  • SAGE Clan

Fox says those organizations have been collecting bottled water to distribute when needed.

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“They open their doors as well,” Fox said. “We have water going around town, and people going around and advising the vulnerable population and checking for signs of heat stress or anything else.”

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The city has listed the Lethbridge Transit Park N’ Ride building as one of the main, air conditioned cooling centers available, as well as both Lethbridge Public Library branches, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, Streets Alive, The Interfaith Food Bank and the Lethbridge Food Bank.

“People also sometimes go for a walk in the mall and cool down and take advantage of some places that are always open,” Fox said. “We like to extend some hours if the temperatures are high late into the evening, and same with the spray parks and different services for water.”

The city issued a fire ban for Lethbridge’s river valley on Monday afternoon — effective immediately and until further notice. Residents are also being reminded to be cautious if smoking in the river valley.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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