Heat warning continues in Toronto / Air Quality Statement

August 10, 2016 

Heat Warning continues in Toronto, cooling centres open

Based on information from Environment Canada, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, is continuing the Heat Warning until further notice. The City's cooling centres will remain open during this time. 

During a Heat Warning, the public is encouraged to visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness, to make sure they are cool and drinking plenty of fluids. Other groups at risk include people with chronic illnesses, individuals with limited mobility or certain mental health illnesses, infants and young children, people on certain medications, and those who are homeless.

The City's cooling centres are open at the following locations: 

• Metro Hall – 55 John St. (24 hours)

• East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

• North York Civic Centre – 5100 Yonge St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

• Driftwood Community Centre – 4401 Jane St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

• Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

• McGregor Community Centre – 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

• Centennial Community Centre – 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Cooling centres offer an air conditioned place to rest indoors and receive a cool drink and light snack. Cots are provided for visitors who feel ill from the heat. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat are on hand. More information is available at http://bitly.com/1iWlzIP

In addition to the cooling centres and air-conditioned shopping malls, the city has 170 air conditioned community centres and local libraries across Toronto. For the homeless and underhoused, there are also 50 drop-in centres that are available at various hours seven days each week.

Members of the public are also advised to beat the heat by taking these precautions:

• Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.

• Take cool showers or baths or use cool, wet towels to cool down.

• Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat. 

• Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella. 

• Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day. 

• Never leave seniors, children or pets unattended in a car.

Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for vulnerable residents to escape the heat. Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call or check on those clients at increased risk of heat-related illness during warnings.                                                                                                

When a warning is declared, those who need assistance or have heat-related inquiries may call 311.

More information about how to beat the heat is available at http://bitly.com/1ks3FTv

Air pollution often increases during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts that are available at http://bitly.com/1neJmrP.

Information to help residents prepare for extreme weather and weatherproof their homes is available at http://www.toronto.ca/extremeweatherready

This news release is also available on the City's website: http://bit.ly/2aLSlRa

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media contact: Lenore Bromley, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974, lbromle@toronto.ca 

Follow us on twitter @TorontoComms


A Special Air Quality Statement* has been issued jointly by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for the following forecast region(s):

Issued For: Wednesday August 10, 2016

City of Hamilton

City of Toronto

Halton - Peel

York - Durham

For more details visit the Air Quality Ontario website at: www.airqualityontario.com

A Special Air Quality Statement is in place due to possible high levels of air pollution expected today. Hot and sunny conditions are expected to cause increasing ground-level ozone concentrations this afternoon in the above region(s). Moderate risk AQHI values are expected throughout the day with the potential of short term high risk AQHI values this afternoon. 
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk. If you, or someone in your care, develop symptoms, reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities where ever possible until the air quality improves.
When the Air Quality Health Index is forecast to reach, or has reached, the high risk category for one to two hours, a Special Air Quality Statement will be issued. A Special Air Quality Statement will also be issued for areas where forest fire smoke is expected to cause deteriorating air quality.

Spare the Air Actions

During a Special Air Quality Statement, there are a number of actions that you can 
take to help spare the air.

Travel tips - all year round:
- leave your car at home - walk, cycle, carpool or take public transit
- tele-conference instead of driving to meetings
- limit car trips by doing all your errands at once, and do 
   not let your engine idle
- keep your car well tuned, check your tire pressure and 
   drive at moderate speeds

Health tips:
- avoid exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes 
- consult your doctor for specific health advice
- wear light clothing at work while air conditioning is reduced 
- avoid strenuous exercise in the heat of the day 

Electricity saving tips:
- save electricity at home by setting your air conditioner
   temperature a few degrees higher (health permitting) and turning 
   off lights you are not using

Other pollution reduction tips:
- leave lawn mowing for another day
- restrict the use of gasoline-powered equipment
- delay using oil-based paints, solvents and cleaners