COVID considerations fall to the aspect as excessive warmth continues to plague Windsor space

As temperatures increased across the region, a “Summer Emergency Preparedness” task team was created in Chatham-Kent.

At the request of the Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team (CKOHT), a new task force was created to bring health and social sector agencies together for a more coordinated approach to handling extreme heat.

“We’re starting to see more frequent heat waves and heat alerts, which has caused some flags to go up in our area,” says Chatham-Kent EMS General Manager Donald MacLellan.

Last month, officials said there had been approximately seven heat warnings issued in Chatham-Kent since May 20, 2022 – totaling 17 days.

The longest heat wave extended from July 19 to 24.

“It’s becoming a very common thing, you know? Obviously it’s living in the south, southwestern part of Ontario,” MacLellan explains. “As a community, we do our best to make sure that everyone in our community is well aware of trends that are going to happen and ways to protect themselves on an ongoing basis. That’s the purpose of us putting this to the top of the pile.”

MacLellan said heat-related illness and death are largely preventable with knowledge, education and adaptive action.

“We’re coming out of COVID,” MacLellan continues, “That’s been the focus of any healthcare and social service sector for the last two-and-a-half years. But we still have other things going on [in our] community we can’t forget about, and this has become one of them that this task force is now focusing on.”

As an emergency department diversion strategy for this summer, the task team will focus on immediate and short-term actions by raising awareness and building capacity through a coordinated communication campaign.

Social media content and print information will be available to residents and will include information on:

  • What heat alerts mean and who is at risk

  • What to do before, during and after a heat event

  • Signs of heat-related illness and what to do

  • Protective measures in the Chatham-Kent community (ex. cooling stations)

The information, as well as heat alerts, will be posted on the Chatham-Kent Public Health Facebook page and their website. The task team will also work on future long term plans for continued emergency response strategies.

“As we look at this we can look at ways to protect our vulnerable population and we could bring up other topics and other matters that impact them,” MacLellan says. “And how do we keep an eye on them and make sure that they are they’re well protected from anything that is a factor in our community?”

Comments are closed.