'This is what we've been waiting for': Calgarians embrace first heat wave of the season

Much of Alberta remained under a heat warning Wednesday but after months cooped up indoors, many Calgarians are embracing the warm weather.

According to Environment Canada, the city could reach or exceed 29 C this week and people are warned to take precautions to protect themselves from the elements.

Jess Kirby was out for a power walk with a friend near Eau Claire and says we’re being rewarded with sunshine after a long winter.

“Get out and enjoy it, don’t beat it, this is what we’ve been waiting for for eight months? Nine months? Forever," she said.

"Hydrate, get out and exercise and put your feet in the river."

Rob Rondo was also out for a stroll along the Bow River and says the weather pairs well with a beer from your local brewery, which is in need of business right now.

“Just stay hydrated with some great local beer,” he said. “Just safety first, stick in the shade and if the heat's too much for you, you can beat the heat by just camping out under a nice tree.”

Naomi Nania with Calgary EMS says it’s important to stay hydrated with clear fluids and electrolyte replacements when the mercury soars.

“We want people to take precaution to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” she said. “If you are starting to feel unwell or dizzy or sick to your stomach, it’s important even if it’s only been 15 minutes to get yourself out of the heat.”

Nania adds it’s particularly important we also take extra caution for more vulnerable people such as the elderly and children who may not be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

HOMELESS POPULATION AT RISK

Another group also at risk from the hot weather is the city’s homeless population, who may not have the proper shelter to get relief from the sun or access to water.

Elise Short is the manager of community engagement at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and says even before arriving at work Wednesday there were a number of people waiting for doors to open who needed water.

She says the city’s most vulnerable aren’t always top of minded when things heat up.

“We’re so used to the cold being such a big thing everyone is excited when it gets hot and it kind of slips to the back of their mind and we’re able to get home to our own houses and escape the heat and it’s not as easily remembered," she said,

"So I think any extreme in the weather we need to look out for those who can’t look out for themselves.”

The Drop-In & Rehab Centre is accepting water, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses donations at its donation centre at 3640 11A Street N.E. 

AC UNIT BACKUPS

This week’s warmup has also resulted in a rush of requests for local air conditioning service providers.

Ryan Wandler with Knight Plumbing says they are very busy with people needing AC unit repairs or a new unit all together.

“We’re booking out a week to two weeks at least right now,” he said. “This is usually spring weather we can usually get snow right now so people aren’t prepared for it.”

Wandler says extreme heat causes stress on units which also causes them to break down quicker.

Many supplier are also dealing with a shortage sooner in the season than usual.

“This year with commodities like raw materials and metals we’re just not getting what we are used to get," said Wandler.

"The other kicker is the U.S. is very busy moving out of COVID so people are moving, buying and building right now so we’re just a little percentage of the total people they serve.”

Wandler recommends people book appointments for maintenance even if they aren’t having a problem with their AC units right now to avoid any trouble in the summer months.