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16 heat deaths recorded in BC so far this summer

British Columbia has seen a fairly mild summer compared to the blistering heat dome that plagued the province in 2021, although high temperatures between 35 to 40ºC have been recorded across the region in the past few weeks.

In a preliminary report released on Tuesday, the BC Coroners Service estimates that 16 people have died due to the effects of heat between July 26 and Aug. 3, 2022.

During this period, five deaths were recorded on July 29, the peak of a heat wave that moved across the province.

Six of these deaths were reported to impact the 70 to 78 age range, followed by an additional three people in the 60-to-69 age range.

A majority of these deaths took place in the Fraser Valley, with eight people succumbing to the heat, and another six individuals in the Interior Health region.

In April 2022, the Chief Coroner of British Columbia released their ‘Review of Heat-Related Deaths in BC in Summer 2021’ and revealed that 619 people died following the record-breaking heat event that occurred between June 25 to July 1, 2021.

The review found that 98% of deaths happened indoors and that there was serious lag between the heat alerts issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada along with public agencies.

As a result, a panel of experts identified the need for a coordinated heat alert response system which has since been implemented to warn residents of upcoming extreme heat events.

Areas like the North Thompson, Fraser Valley, and the Central and North Coast have all been put under heat warnings that are expected to last over the next few days.

The BC Coroners Service will continue to report on their 'Suspected Heat-Related Deaths in BC Knowledge Update' in the coming months.

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