There have been no sudden deaths linked to the extreme heat in Vernon, RCMP said.
While BC Emergency Health Services responded to 81 heat-related calls in the Interior Health Authority between Friday, June 25, and Monday morning, June 28, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said they haven’t been called out to any.
B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe confirmed Wednesday a significant increase in reported deaths since the heat wave began.
The Coroners Service would normally receive approximately 130 reports of death over a four-day period.
“Between Friday and 1 p.m. today, at least 486 sudden and unexpected deaths have been reported to our agency.”
The number, while preliminary, is likely to increase as coroners complete reports are added to the system.
“While it is too early to say with certainty how many of these deaths are heat-related,” she said June 30. “It is believed likely that the significant increase in deaths reported is attributable to the extreme weather B.C. has experienced and continues to impact many parts of our province.
Offering condolences, Lapointe said it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that each reported death is someone’s family member.
Vernon RCMP media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski said it’s important to look out for fellow citizens.
”We encourage everyone to do what they can to stay cool, to make use of the available cooling centres if necessary, and to look out for one another.”
The City of Vernon’s cooling station at Kal Tire Place is set to remain open through Sunday, as is the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. Kal Tire Place is open 10-5 p.m. daily until July 4.
A free shuttle service has been started for those who face transportation challenges to the city’s cooling centre at Kal Tire Place.
It’s available from 10-6 p.m. daily and can be booked by calling 250-545-7286 ext. 206.