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Heat dome moves toward Alberta after shattering temperature records in B.C., N.W.T.

mariomike

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B.C. heat wave leads to 11-hour ambulance wait time, spike in sudden deaths​

I'm not familiar with that jurisdiction.

But, it would be interesting to see their Unit Hour Utilization during the heat wave. They usually try to factor minimum car counts into predicted weather events.

( UHU = the number of transports divided by the total number of unit hours in the measurement interval ).
 

lenaitch

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Because people expect to have Fire, Rescue, Ambulance, Police services within in a minute - just like the movies and TV. The average citizen doesn't care about response time or capacity until it affects them.
This is somewhat true, particularly 'city folks' who find themselves out in the rurals and complain that the volunteer department takes half an hour to show up and hose down the foundation of their former cottage, but it generally true because people see a lot more TV than require emergency services. Like the military, the general population has little idea how emergency services work or how much it costs.

I'm not sure many realistically expect emergency service to operate as normal during a wide-spread emergency event, but I think it is reasonable to expect that it have surge capacity and have a plan how to activate it. Large emergency services have, or should have, planning bureaucracies, but plans mostly exist on paper and are usually never exercised because of staffing and funding (or sometimes willingness: 'we have a plan here in the binder - we're good'). Events can cascade; a paramedic crew sits at a hospital waiting for them to accept a patient, so a fire crew sits at a scene waiting for an ambulance.

I haven't been following the finer details out in BC. Were warming centres opened (are malls open out there?)? Elderly folks living alone, particularly those with mobility issues or without a/c were probably particularly vulnerable. Family has a responsibility, if they are around. Sending out tweets hoping to catch 80-year-olds might be missing the mark.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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I haven't seen any reports evaluating the pre-planning process in this. Did the government contact health care centres to warn them and tell them to prepare? Did they open quick response depots with water and fans made available? Did they issue a bulletin asking people to check on any seniors or shutins that they knew to ensure their safety or move them to a better location? Did they tell the same group to ensure that air conditioners were operating? etc. If they didn't they should be charged with negligence, if they did, then they did what they could
I can get any warning I require on the Weather Channel......maybe folks shouldn't need the Govt to hand feed common sense to them??
 

Brad Sallows

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Did the... Did they...

Weather forecasts are public knowledge and are promulgated on many means, frequently. People have to take more responsibility for themselves and deal with life beyond the median.
 

sapperboysen

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I'm not familiar with that jurisdiction.

But, it would be interesting to see their Unit Hour Utilization during the heat wave. They usually try to factor minimum car counts into predicted weather events.

( UHU = the number of transports divided by the total number of unit hours in the measurement interval ).
I can only speak anecdotally to what I saw while working. We didn't do anything besides Red and Purple calls (Manchester MPDS) for the duration of the heat wave. More minor calls just waited and often turned into Red's and Purples'. We did cardiac arrests with down times of over an hour. The only attempt by management to prepare was to send out a memo to reemphasize what the signs and symptoms of heat injuries are. There was no attempt to up staff more ambulances to accommodate increased calls. We ended up with fire departments transporting patients in the backs of their trucks to the hospitals. We had the police ERT medics out doing street calls and transporting.
Management ignored mechanisms as their disposal to get more paramedics on the street.
 

OldTanker

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Having been a municipal emergency manager, I can sympathize with my colleagues in BC. I suspect we will find out that the majority of the deaths occurred with what I would describe as "marginalized seniors" - the elderly living on their own, possibly with mobility and/or congnisance challenges, likely not internet-savvy and without local famlily. It's sad, but there are more people out there like this than we would like to acknowledge. It is challenging to get timely information to them, and even if they do get it, what do they do? Hobble down to some cooling centre somewhere? Is it the responsibility of local government to track these people and check up on them prior to and during a heat wave? Or is that a health authority responsibility? In BC (or lotus land) we have been lulled into a false sense of comfort with our temperate climate. I don't doubt for a minute that our first responders, emergency managers and health authorities were caught off guard by the magnitude of this event. I have lived in 40C+ heat in the Middle East and even without AC my wife and I were able to deal with the heat OK, but for many people here, this would have been a totally novel experience, and I include our first responders and health folks. Telling someone it's going to get really, really hot and understanding what that means are two different things. I'm not even sure what the way ahead would look like. Clearly the only way to avoid this again is to be able to take positive control of the vulnerable population, but I'm not sure how you would do that, and even if it is clear who is responsible. Not a cop-out, but just realistic challenges. We've lost over 500 people to the heat wave, if there had been 500 people killed in a building collapse there would be all sorts of inquiries and steps taken. I'm not sure that will happen in this case. I hope I'm wrong.
 

mariomike

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The average citizen doesn't care about response time or capacity until it affects them.
Not a resident of B.C.. Only been a visitor. But, I was curious about their response times.

The national response time goal for paramedics in Canada is 8 minutes 59 seconds, for the most serious emergencies.

When seconds count ... they were 11 hours away.


I imagine some people are "gonna have some "splainin' to do."

B.C. Ambulance Response Times
 

mariomike

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We've lost over 500 people to the heat wave, if there had been 500 people killed in a building collapse there would be all sorts of inquiries and steps taken. I'm not sure that will happen in this case. I hope I'm wrong.
From what I have read of heat waves, they come and go in slow motion, compared to the more visual disasters.

No property damage. Not much to photograph, like a building collapse. Nobody left homeless.

Many of the deceased seem to be shut-ins who die alone in their homes.
 

YZT580

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Weather forecasts are public knowledge and are promulgated on many means, frequently. People have to take more responsibility for themselves and deal with life beyond the median.
We have accustomed people to be dependent upon the nanny state. Covid is an example. Wear a mask, avoid crowds, close businesses. We have mandated by law just about everything instead of providing advice and relying upon common sense. Our courts have supported that approach through their handing out cash whenever people make claims against businesses and the state for a host of issues where simple common sense would have prevented their occurrence in the first place. So you are saying that when it comes to weather people need to think for themselves but in other instances the government should intervene?
 

Brad Sallows

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So you are saying that when it comes to weather people need to think for themselves

Yes.

but in other instances the government should intervene?

If you wish to discuss instances in which you think the government should intervene, be specific.
 

YZT580

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Yes.



If you wish to discuss instances in which you think the government should intervene, be specific.
I don't believe govt. should intervene at all except for seniors. People should be able to think for themselves and if they don't, they become candidates for a Darwin award but when their are other people who may suffer or die as a result of their stupidity or lack of thought some system of warning needs to be established.
According to the news reports most of the fatalities were seniors, living alone, probably basic accommodation with no air conditioning. those folks need people to think for them and look out for them but our system of caring for seniors permit those who should be concerned to pass the buck to government agencies and health care facilities instead of being responsible for their own family and many of the organizations that do that have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to do so. Most victims of Covid in the early days at least were seniors in homes. Seniors living alone should have an identified/designated power of attorney for personal care and when there isn't such a person the local health organization should step in. Public schools have phone trees to ensure that on no bus days kids don't walk out to the end of the lane to wait for a non-existent bus. Surely a similar system for seniors wouldn't be all that difficult or costly to establish
 

daftandbarmy

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They told you so....

Documents offered guidelines, warned of deadly consequences ahead of B.C. heat wave​


Warning signs ignored during B.C. heat wave?

There are new questions about whether governments dropped the ball in protecting vulnerable people during B.C.'s recent heat wave.

VANCOUVER -- At least three separate reports warned health officials and local governments about the kind of heat waves that could cost lives in the Lower Mainland, but the analyses and documents appear to have been forgotten when they were needed most.

A CTV News Vancouver investigation has uncovered documents from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control with clear criteria for a “heat health emergency” established in the wake of the region’s last deadly heat wave in 2009. Health officials have not responded to queries about those warnings and others.

The most crucial document dates back to 2012. Authored by a BCCDC doctor and a researcher – both of whom also teach at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health – the document laid out a plan to prevent the kind of death toll they’d seen in the summer of 2009.

 

daftandbarmy

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An example of what can be done to mitigate fire risk using existing tools:


Community of Mackenzie Now has a Safe Emergency Evacuation Route

Highway 39 is heavily forested on both sides of the highway and is the only access route in and out of the community of Mackenzie. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided a grant of $1 million toward supporting a project by the District of Mackenzie (DOM) to reduce flammable woody fuel along the corridor.

Community of Mackenzie Now has a Safe Emergency Evacuation Route – FESBC – Forest Enhancement Society of BC
 

daftandbarmy

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Wow...

Deaths during B.C. heat wave climb past 800


The number of deaths reported during a record-breaking heat wave in B.C. three weeks ago has climbed to 808 — 610 more than average, according to preliminary data from the B.C. Coroners Service.

 

daftandbarmy

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State of emergency declared in BC, probably about 2 weeks late for some unknown reason and the press is hammering the Premier, and quite rightly so.

35 days since the last drop of rain, with nothing useful predicted for the foreseeable future for most of the southern part of the province and eastern Vancouver Island.

This is going to be bigger than 2017/18 apparently. OP LENTUS for everyone!



State of emergency declared in British Columbia over growing wildfires​

British Columbia’s public safety minister is declaring a provincial state of emergency over the growing wildfire threat to prepare for potential mass evacuations and help secure accommodation that might be needed by evacuees.

Mike Farnworth said he made the decision based on information from officials that weather conditions will lead to more severe fire behaviour and the potential for more evacuations, citing the weather in British Columbia’s Interior region in particular.

“In a briefing last night, I received word that we’ll be facing a few days of very difficult weather in the Interior,” Farnworth said in a statement.

The state of emergency goes into effect on Wednesday and gives government agencies, the fire commissioner and the RCMP the authority to take whatever action they deem is necessary to fight the wildfires and protect people and communities.

Farnworth said he wants to assure B.C. residents that the province is deploying all available personnel and equipment to fight the fires.

“We have reached a critical point,” he told a news conference.

Nearly 300 fires were burning across the province on Tuesday, including several of them that were encroaching on communities that have issued evacuation orders or alerts.

The government said 40 evacuation orders affected about 5,700 people or almost 2,900 properties in the province. There were also 69 evacuation alerts affecting just under 33,000 people and about 16,000 properties. The alerts tell people they should be ready to flee their homes on short notice.

Continued hot and dry conditions are forecasted, with heightened wind activity in the Interior and southeastern B.C., the provincial government said.

 

daftandbarmy

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Has the Minister been in a coma, or does he not think the weather of the last month or so has been 'difficult'.

There are no elected MLAs in the current government who are based outside of the urban areas of BC e.g., the Lower Mainland.

All the areas burning are not NDP ridings, therefore, why should the government care?
 

MilEME09

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This is going to be bigger than 2017/18 apparently. OP LENTUS for everyone!
Good thing 3 Div is at high readiness, and everyone was home for covid, oh wait they aren't, in an attempt to clear the back log many troops are on courses out east.

Seriously I don't think a Op Lentis will be a small go this time, no three week rotations, I think this could turn into all hands on deck if the conditions stay the same or get worse.
 

daftandbarmy

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Good thing 3 Div is at high readiness, and everyone was home for covid, oh wait they aren't, in an attempt to clear the back log many troops are on courses out east.

Seriously I don't think a Op Lentis will be a small go this time, no three week rotations, I think this could turn into all hands on deck if the conditions stay the same or get worse.

Here we go again....

Military deploys to B.C. interior on Op Lentus


In response to the threats posed by the wildfire situation in the interior of B.C, the provincial government requested federal assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) July 9.

The CAF declared Operation Lentus active with its principal goal to assist with this provincial emergency.

The CAF was well situated to quickly respond as there were already Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft pre-positioned in Kelowna and CFB Comox in anticipation of this situation growing worse.

Two aircraft, a CC-130J Hercules and a CC-177 Globemaster, are presently operating out of CFB Comox. Additionally, three CH-146 Griffon helicopters and two CH-147F Chinook helicopters are supporting the wildfire operations out of Kamloops.

The operation has already provided much needed help to the province. Flights from CFB Comox have delivered essential firefighting equipment to Bella Coola, including a Comox fire truck and water distribution systems to battle the flames.

RCAF Griffon and Chinook helicopters stationed at Kamloops airport are providing air reconnaissance over Prince George and surrounding communities for provincial authorities, allowing them to better assess the needs of communities affected by the fires, and how best to fight the blazes.

As of July 12, more than 14,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and over 33,000 hectares of land have been devastated by the wild fires in multiple regions in the Chilcotin Plateau and Cariboo regions of B.C.

The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to assist B.C. on Operation Lentus for the duration of the provincial need for assistance, and will remain in close communication with the province in order to ensure the response to the wildfires is as effective and efficient as possible.

For more information on the provincial wildfire situation, please visit www.bcwildfire.ca or follow MARPAC on Twitter @MARPAC_FMARP for daily updates on Operation LENTUS activity.


 

MilEME09

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As of this month the CAF has been involved in OP lentus for 8 straight months, this will take a toll.
 
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