LISTEN: Montrealers brace for another day of scorching temperatures
As Greater Montreal enters the third full day of what is expected to be a week-long wave of heat, officials are urging citizens to exercise caution when outside.
Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 35 degrees, though it'll feel as hot as 45 degrees with humidex. The UV index will reach 9, or very high. The rest of the week isn't expected to be much cooler, with highs of 32, 34 and 35 expected for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Only on Friday, when we expect to see showers and a high falling to 28, will the hot-spell likely come to an end.
Medical professionals are urging people to stay in the shade, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Urgences-Santé spokesperson Benoit Garneau says he's seen a significant uptick in calls since the extreme heat began this past weekend.
Yesterday alone the department received over 200 more calls than normal for a Sunday. Garneau explained, "30 calls were related directly to the heatwave. We received more calls than that, of course, indirectly related to the heatwave."
Garneau says that strenuous physical activity isn't a great idea in this weather. "It's not [the] time to do a running personal-best today" he said, adding that everyone should be drinking water even if they aren't thirsty.
For those who may not be done moving just yet, Garneau recommends trying to take it easy. "Take some more breaks, don't put yourself under the sun too much, try to find some place where there is some [shade], and reduce your physical activity."
The very old, the very young, and the disabled are among those facing the most risk for health problems during periods of extreme heat. Another group is the homeless. The city is partnering with the provincial department of public health and homeless advocacy groups to make sure the homeless are staying hyrated by passing out bottles of water. As well, Montreal police are instructing officers to keep an eye out for homeless people experiencing any medical distress.
Spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant explained in an interview to CJAD 800, "if they see that the person needs help, there's going to be a follow-up." That will likely involve police referring the person to Urgences-Santé, and possibly to the hospital for attention.
Rosannie Filato, who is responsible for social and community development in Mayor Valérie Plante's executive committee, said that the city has taken special measures to help residents beat the heat in an interview with CJAD 800 News.
She says the city is offering two different phone-line services in conjunction with the province to assist residents during the hot spell. Residents can call 3-1-1 to find their nearest designated cooling centre or another climate-controlled public building that they can use to take refuge from the heat in. As well, residents experiencing symptoms they think may be related to the heat can call a special 8-1-1 line being run with the assistance of the provincial public health department.
As Filato explained, "that's to make sure, if you're feeling faint, if you feel diziness, we have people from the public health department who will be able either to send you to a resource or tell you how to get better at home."
Garneau emphasized that for all non-emergency heat-related symptoms, the 8-1-1 line should be used.
"Before calling 9-1-1, be sure you have an emergency," he said, adding, "we receive too [many] calls for non-emergencies. If it's not an emergency, please call 8-1-1."
Anyone experiencing a medical emergency, related to the heat or otherwise, should not hesitate to call 9-1-1.
The City of Montreal has posted a full map of every climate-controlled public building and designated cooling space on the island. As well, depending on what borough you live in you'll probably find that public pools will be open for longer hours today and the next few days.