At Centennial Food Solutions in Kelowna, B.C., workers have an easy way to beat the current heat.
“It is no question the coolest job in town,” said branch manager Glenn Gartner.
The workers get to spend spend a lot of their work day in a freezer storage where the temperature is set at -18 C.
“They work in here eight hours a day. They get their coffee break and lunch breaks but they spend the majority of their working day in here,” Gartner said.
The cool conditions may sound nice amid a heat warning now in effect for the Okanagan, which was issued by the province on Thursday.
“So the warning is anytime that temperatures are forecasted to be 35 degrees for two consecutive days without falling below 18 degrees overnight,” said Lance Kayfish, risk manager with the City of Kelowna.
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The new warning system was developed after the deadly heat dome of 2021, which claimed about 600 lives across B.C.
“The heat dome and 2021 was really an eye-opener I think for the whole community and province,” Kayfish said.
“Frankly, I think it’s a bit of a wake-up call about climate change and the things that we need to be thinking about going forward.”
According to WorkSafe BC, workers most at risk for heat stress include those working on farms, restaurants and kitchens, factories and construction sites.
“It’s pretty tough. We’re starting a little early…and then we’re packing up early. So we, you know, get a good half, three-quarter day in and then go hide.” said Cory Legu with West valley Construction.
Interior Health is reminding the public to take precautions such as using fans and air conditioning to stay cool, seeking shelter in places like malls and libraries if there is no AC at home, closing curtains and blinds to keep the heat out and checking on people who may be at high risk for heat-related illnesses.
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Those at risk include Kelowna’s unhoused population.
The Gospel Mission’s executive director, Carmen Rempel, told Global News the organization has launched its Operation Heatwave initiative that triples outreach services.
It means extra support and additional checks on people sheltering outside during the sweltering heat.
The city has also activated a misting station at the Queensway bus loop downtown to keep people safe.
“The misting station is really for anyone that’s in the area but certainly, you know, we do appreciate that some of our unsheltered population, they might not have a place to go otherwise,” Kayfish said.
Temperatures are expected to drop to the high 20s by early next week.
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