Cold could be to blame for 3 deaths in B.C. this month
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 11:49AM PST
Abnormally cold weather conditions in B.C. may be responsible for the deaths of three people this month, prompting a warning from the BC Coroners Service.
One of the deaths occurred in the upper Fraser Valley and the other two happened in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. The causes of death have not yet been confirmed and investigations are ongoing.
Freezing temperatures are forecast to last for several more days and the coroners service is urging neighbours to keep an eye on each other, especially in rural and remote regions of the province.
Seniors and people with mobility issues are at particular risk for hypothermia when their core body temperature decreases, even inside buildings if the heating system fails.
"If you know your neighbours are elderly, take the time to give them a call or drop by, just to make sure they are coping," said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe in a release.
Alcohol impairment and getting wet are other factors that also increase the risk for hypothermia. Cold weather also increases the risk for fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, as some people improvise to maintain heat in their homes.
Environment Canada has issued a special weather alert for Metro Vancouver as snow is forecast this weekend for B.C.’s South Coast. The snow is expected to begin turning to rain by Sunday evening.
Cold weather warnings have also been issued for Fraser Valley and Howe Sound because of strong outflow winds and cold wind chill values.
The BC Coroners Service offered the following tips to ensure safety in this weather:
- Create a cold-weather safety plan including warmth in your home and adequate food and water.
- Dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer.
- Stay dry and if you get wet, find shelter and change into dry clothing as soon as possible.
- Limit time outdoors during extremely low temperatures or wind chill.
- Wear extra clothes in cold buildings.
- Ensure you have enough wood if your home is heated by a wood stove.
- Place space heaters on a hard level surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away.
- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home, and never operate a generator inside a home.