Beat the Heat!

What is extreme heat?
  • Extreme Heat is when daytime and nighttime temperatures get hotter every day and are well above seasonal norms.

Extreme Heat is defined through two tiers in the City of Nanaimo.

  • Tier One extreme heat event are two or more consecutive days in which daytime maximum temperatures are expected to reach 29°C or warmer and nighttime minimum temperatures are not expected to fall below 16°C.
  • Tier Two extreme weather response will occur when the Province or Island Health has declared a regional health emergency that includes the City of Nanaimo and temperatures are expected to substantively increase day over day for three or more consecutive days. A tier two extreme event will only be triggered where there is significant acute risk to the health and safety of the public.

Extreme heat is dangerous for the health and wellbeing of our communities and is responsible for the highest number of weather-related deaths annually.

Who Is At Risk

Certain groups are at greater risk of health impacts during extreme heat. People in these groups may be particularly vulnerable if they live alone or lack access to air conditioning or other ways to stay cool. Please check on your friends, family and neighbours.

  • Low income renters
  • Older adults living alone or in isolation
  • People living with a disability
  • People with a chronic medical condition
  • People living alone
  • People who use substances

Weather Supports for Unhoused Individuals

The City and other service providers are working together to support community members by conducting wellness checks and distributing water. See our Services and Supports page for more information. 

Know the Signs & Symptoms

A person may be suffering from heat exhaustion if any of the following symptoms are present:

Heat Exhaustion
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Rapid breathing or heart rate
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark urine and decreased urination

*If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, move to a cool place at once and drink water.

A person may be suffering from heat stroke if any of the following symptoms are present:

Heat Stroke
  • High body temperature
  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • No sweating but very hot red skin

*Heat stroke is a medical emergency! Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. While waiting for help, cool the person right away by:

  • Moving them to a cool place, if you can
  • Applying cold water to large areas of the skin
  • Fanning the person as much as possible

Make a plan for the heat

As Temperatures Rise

If an Extreme Heat Emergency alert has been issued, it's time to put your plan into action.
  • Relocate to a cooler spot if you have planned to do so
  • Reconfigure the coolest location in your home so you can sleep there at night
  • Check in with your pre-identified heat buddy. If you don't have one, try to reach out to someone you trust as soon as possible
  • Put up external window covers to block the sun if you can safely do so
  • Close your curtains and blinds
  • Ensure digital thermometers have batteries
  • Make ice and prepare jugs of cool water
  • Keep doors and windows closed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to trap more cool air inside. Open them at 8 p.m. to allow cooler air in, and use fans (including kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans) to move cooler air through the house.
  • Pay attention to the media, Environment Canada, EmergencyInfoBC and Island Health for more information.

A few modifications to your home and routine can make a big difference during periods of extreme heat. Pick and choose from the list below based on your needs. Even one or two things can help.

City Amenities

During times of hot weather, the City provides amenities to cool down including:

  • Pools in Beban Park, Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and Kin Pool in Bowen Park (outdoor seasonal pool)
  • Water parks for the kids to cool down in Departure Bay Centennial, Deverill Square, Harewood Centennial and Mansfield Parks
  • Swimming opportunities in our parks including lakes, rivers and the Salish Sea. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty at Westwood Lake (see the latest Activity Guide for dates and times)
  • Seasonally, a misting station is set up in Maffeo Sutton Park
  • Air conditioned lobbies in our recreation centres.


At-home Solutions

Keeping Pets Safe

Dogs staying cool by drinking water, resting in a kiddie pool, walking in the evening, and under the shade of a sun umbrella

Last updated: July 9, 2024

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