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Coroners report confirms 619 heat-related deaths

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The BC Coroners Service confirms last summer’s heat dome caused the deaths of 619 people in B.C.

A report released today shows the demographics of those who died and lays out recommendations to help prevent deaths in the future.

It found that 98 per cent of the deaths occurred indoors, people with specific chronic disease registries were at a much higher risk and 67 per cent were over the age of 70.

They also found 911 calls doubled during the peak of the heat dome and in six instances callers were told that there was no ambulance available.

This report includes recommendations that the panel believes will help build resilience and greatly reduce the likelihood of death in future heat events,” said Michael Egilson, death review panel chair in a release.

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“It was important that we focus both on the immediate threat and on longer-term prevention strategies, and the final report includes measures that can be actioned now and changes to be made in the years to come.”

The first recommendation was to implement a coordinated provincial heat alert and response system, which the B.C. government announced yesterday.

MORE: Province launches heat event alert system (June 6, 2022)

Recommendations also include identifying and supporting populations most at risk of dying during extreme heat emergencies and implementing extreme heat prevention and long-term risk mitigation strategies.

MORE: Review of Heat-Related Deaths in B.C. in Summer 2021 (B.C. government)

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