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Get an air conditioner, air purifier, and fans now

If you don't already own an air conditioner, fans, and a HEPA air purifier, we strongly recommend that you buy these items now

As summer approaches these items will start selling out in shops. Heat or wildfire smoke can become very bad very quickly and when that happens these items can become impossible to find at any price for weeks at a time.

Summer weather has dramatically changed in BC over the past decade. Frequent episodes of wildfire smoke and extreme heat now make an air conditioning and an air purifier important for your health and safety, especially for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and diabetes.

Wildfire smoke | British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
Wildfire smoke | British Columbia Centre for Disease Control

Last year's heat wave caused over 595 deaths in BC. Additionally, there have been several occasions in recent years when wildfire smoke in our area has caused our air quality to rank worst in the world. Even worse, if heat and smoke coincide, we are forced to choose between opening windows to let cool air in, or keeping them closed to keep smoke out.

Another action you can take now to prepare for smoke and extreme heat is to check the weatherstripping around your windows and doors, especially on the south and west sides of your home. Weatherstripping stops hot or smoky air from entering your home in the summer.

Although air conditioning is much more effective than fans, not everyone can afford an air conditioner. If you're not able to purchase one, it's especially important to make sure you get some electric fans now, and to familiarize yourself with strategies to stay cool. The City of Burnaby is holding four open houses this month (May 15th & 29th) where you can learn about the city's Cooling Centres, its heat response plan and what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Find out more about preparing for wildfire smoke here.

Find out more about preparing for extreme heat events here.

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