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Arrow BulletHot Weather Guidelines: Homeless Shelters and Outreach Program

Peel Health recommends the following steps to be taken to prevent heat related illness:

General Recommendations

Region of Peel Shelter Operators:

  1. Please review your operating procedures related to hot weather.

Region of Peel Outreach Team:

  1. Be aware that children, seniors and those with chronic illnesses are most vulnerable. Some medical conditions and medications may increase sensitivity to the heat.

  2. Inform and direct people to services and agencies for the homeless through street patrols and mobile outreach.

  3. Publicize Peel Street Helpline 1-877-848-8418 to help people find shelter and services.

  4. If possible, monitor people who refuse to take shelter.

  5. Be aware of signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Follow first aid procedures promptly.

During a Heat Alert

  • Keep cool
  • Stay hydrated
  • Check on friends and neighbours

Follow the General Guidelines AND

  • If possible, increase street patrols and mobile outreach during heat alerts.

  • If possible, provide or extend hours for cool spaces.

  • Inform and direct people to cooler locations, such as a shopping mall, library, recreational centre or shelter services.

  • If possible, provide plain water and light weight clothing.

  • If possible, provide bus tickets to homeless people trying to reach services/hostels.

During an Extreme Heat Alert

Advise people to:

  • Stay cool
  • Stay hydrated
  • Check on other homeless friends/neighbours

Follow Heat Alert Guidelines AND

  • Strongly suggest that the homeless seek cool shelter either at a shopping mall, library or known homeless shelter in the area.

  • Work with the local emergency medical system to get help for those exhibiting signs of heat illness.

Heat Illness
Signs and Treatment

Sunburn: redness, pain, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches.
Treatment: leave water blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection. If breaking of blister occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious cases should be seen by a physician.
Heat Cramps: heavy sweating can cause painful muscle spasms usually in the legs but possible in the abdomen
Treatment: apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water, if nausea occurs discontinue sips of water, move person to a cooler place to rest in a comfortable position. Observe the person carefully for changes in condition.
Heat Exhaustion: heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting, core temperature usually 38.8 Celsius or higher, but normal temperature is possible.
Treatment: get person out of sun, move person to a cooler environment, lay person down and loosen clothing, apply cool wet cloths, give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water; if vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heatstroke: severe medical emergency, high body temperature (41 degrees Celsius or higher), hot, dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness
Treatment: Call 911, if unable to get person to medical help immediately, do the following:
  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Remove outer clothing
  • Reduce body temperature using lukewarm (not cold) water to bathe/sponge the person
  • Do not give fluids
Hot Weather Guidelines Homeless Shelters and Outreach Program (PDF format, 157KB)
May 2006
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