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Beat the Heat

Overheating during hot weather can harm your health and cause heat related-illnesses.

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Last updated: June 2023

During the summer months, the temperatures in British Columbia can exceed 30°C (86°F), sometimes reaching the mid to high 30's in some parts of the province. Too much heat can be harmful to your health and cause heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illness is the result of your body gaining heat faster than it can cool itself down. Those at increased risk for heat-related illness include people 65 years of age or older, infants and children, and people who do a lot of physical activity or work in a hot environment. In most cases, heat-related illnesses are preventable.

Learn more about heat-related illness and get tips on how to stay cool when it is hot outside.

Staying healthy in the heat

When it is hot outside, it can be easy to become dehydrated or suffer from a heat-related illness. Learn how you can beat the heat, to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.

To learn more about staying safe and healthy this summer, see Your Health This Summer.

Extreme heat

Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing illness such as heat stroke or even death. It is important to take steps to protect yourself, your family, and other potentially vulnerable people in your life.

Heat events in B.C. are classified into two categories, a Heat Warning or an Extreme Heat Emergency. A Heat Warning happens when conditions are very hot and there is a moderate risk to public health. An Extreme Heat Emergency happens when conditions are dangerously hot and have a very high risk to public health.

Environment and Climate Change Canada distributes alerts for heat events that are a moderate or high risk to the health of the public.

Heat warning

A Heat Warning is when daytime and overnight temperatures are higher than usual, but they are not getting hotter every day. If there is a Heat Warning, you should take steps to stay cool.

Extreme heat emergency

An Extreme Heat Emergency is when daytime and overnight temperatures get hotter every day and are well above seasonal norms. When an Extreme Heat Warning is issued, it is time to put your emergency plan into action. Make sure you have access to cooler spaces and take steps to ensure you limit physical activity in the heat. Check on older or vulnerable people that you know to make sure they are adequately prepared for the potentially dangerous temperatures.

Emergency Info BC is active during partial and full-scale provincial emergencies and will share verified event information.

For more information on extreme heat, see:

Public weather alerts for British Columbia

When severe weather threatens, Environment Canada issues alerts that notify those in the affected communities. Learn more:

The Province of B.C. will issue broadcast intrusive alerts through the Alert Ready System when an Extreme Heat Emergency is declared. Learn more at Government of British Columbia: Emergency Alerts in B.C.

Heat-related illnesses

Too much heat can be harmful to your health. Heat-related illness is the result of your body gaining heat faster than it can cool itself down. Heat-related illnesses can almost always be prevented.

If you think you have a heat-related illness, use our Heat-Related Illnesses: Check Your Symptoms tool to help make an informed decision on when to seek healthcare. For additional information, see:

Medications and heat

Some drugs and medications make it difficult for your body to adapt to hot temperatures. Never modify how you take your medication unless advised to by your healthcare provider. Learn more about how heat affects your body when taking medications


Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or other emergency medical services as soon as you suspect or see the signs of heatstroke in an individual. Heatstroke signs include high body temperature, confusion, dizziness/fainting and flushed skin. Learn more about heatstroke.

Hot car warning

Never leave a child or pet alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes. Leaving the car windows slightly open or "cracked" will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature. If you come across a child or animal in distress left in a hot vehicle, call 9-1-1. For more information, see Canada Safety Council: Hot Car Warning

Workplace health and safety

When you work outdoors or indoors in environments with high temperatures such as bakeries, smelters, or restaurant kitchens, you are at risk for heat stress and other health concerns. Learn more about hot environments, how they can affect you and ways to prevent heat stress at work.

Places to keep cool

When it's too hot outside, many public places and municipal buildings will offer you a chance to cool down. Local community centres, malls, pools and libraries usually have air-conditioned areas open to the public. Many communities have waterparks, wading pools and beaches where you can cool down. Local government websites often list community centres, fountains, libraries, swimming pools, water parks and wading pools.

Find a list of cooling centres in your area.

If your local community is not listed, please call your local municipality or check their website to see where air-conditioned cooling centres are located. You can also contact your local library to see if they are open.