North Perth clerk encourages council to adopt Extreme Heat Policy for municipality

·3 min read

NORTH PERTH – During the string of days where heat warnings were being issued During the string of days where heat warnings were being issued for southwestern Ontario, Clerk Pat Berfelz thought it would be prudent for North Perth council to approve an extreme heat policy at its Aug. 23 meeting.for southwestern Ontario, Clerk Pat Berfelz thought it would be prudent for North Perth council to approve an extreme heat policy at its Aug. 23 meeting.

“Again council, today being another heat warning day constitutes North Perth moving forward with a policy,” she said. “I truly believe we need to have something in writing directing staff and the public as to what our expectations and what we are willing to do. Climate change is certainly noted and I feel it’s time to move forward with this. The City of Stratford has done a very similar policy and that is why it’s before you tonight. It certainly does have some financial and staffing implications which I feel council should approve.”

The North Perth Extreme Heat Policy outlines the implementation and coordination of hot weather response activities with a focus on reducing the negative health impacts of extreme heat. Everyone is vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat, but some people are more at risk than others.

The Emergency Operations Centre will coordinate the response and provide an established and recognized point of authority to coordinate response resources, personnel and incident information. The decision to escalate the municipal response to an emergency category will be taken in consultation with the HPPH, social services and other impacted municipal departments, in collaboration with the County of Perth Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC).

Educational resources, such as tips to beat the heat have been developed by municipal staff and will be circulated with partner agencies.

The Perth County CEMC and the North Perth Alternate County CEMC are responsible for monitoring and initiating the opening and closing of cooling centres under the Extreme Heat Policy in consultation with the City of Stratford Director of Social Services.

The practices defined in the policy will come into effect when Environment and Climate Change Canada issues a heat warning for the region. Heat warnings are issued in southwestern Ontario when two or more consecutive days of daytime maximum temperatures are forecast to reach 32°C or higher and the nighttime minimum temperatures are expected to be 20°C or warmer, or when two or more consecutive days of humidex values are forecast to reach 40°C or higher.

These actions can be initiated during periods of extreme heat without a heat warning at the discretion of a CEMC in consultation with the Director of Community Services.

North Perth will take action by allowing the public to use the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex as a cooling centre between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.; the North Perth Public Libraries as a cooling centre during regular business hours; offer free swims at the Listowel Pool and the Atwood Lions Pool with extended hours of operation when feasible; and provide scheduled times for public skating when feasible.

North Perth communications personnel will advise the public about the details of the options available through social media and on northperth.ca.

During a period of emergency, such as a pandemic, North Perth will operate a cooling centre in the community hall of the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex while operating under guidelines set by government bodies and public health agencies.

All council members voted in favour of adopting the Extreme Heat Policy.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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