Update: Heat Alert upgraded to Extreme Heat Alert, Cooling Centres Open

    Update Re: Seventh Cooling Centre: Centennial Park Community Centre at
    1967 Ellesmere Rd. is available as a Cooling Centre during the current
    Extreme Heat Alert, not Malvern Community Centre as announced earlier

TORONTO, May 25 /CNW/ - Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, has upgraded the Heat Alert to an Extreme Heat Alert for Toronto today. The Extreme Heat Alert will be in effect until further notice.

During an Extreme Heat Alert, the public is encouraged to call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness, to make sure they are okay. Other groups at risk include people with chronic and pre-existing illnesses, infants and young children, people on certain medications and those who are marginally housed or homeless.

In addition to using air conditioned shopping malls, local libraries and neighbourhood community centres as places to cool off, Cooling Centres are open during Extreme Heat Alerts for those in need at the following locations:

    -  Metro Hall - 55 John St. (24 hours)
    -  East York Civic Centre - 850 Coxwell Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    -  North York Civic Centre - 5100 Yonge St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    -  Driftwood Community Centre - 4401 Jane St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    -  Etobicoke Olympium - 590 Rathburn Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    -  McGregor Community Centre - 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    -  Centennial Park Community Centre - 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (11 a.m. to 7

Water and snacks are available at the seven Cooling Centres. Additional information on ways to help people cool off is available at http://www.toronto.ca/housing/cooling-centres.htm.

The public is also advised to "Beat the Heat" by taking these precautions:

    -  Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices.
    -  Go to air conditioned places, including shopping malls or one of many
       local libraries and community centres located in each neighbourhood.
    -  Stay out of the sun.
    -  Reduce strenuous physical outdoor activity, especially between 11 a.m.
       and 4 p.m.
    -  Never leave the elderly, children or pets unattended in a car.

Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for residents to escape the heat. Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call or check those clients at increased risk of heat-related illness during alerts.

When an alert is declared, those who need assistance or have heat-related inquiries may call the Canadian Red Cross Heat Information Line at 416-480-2615 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

For more information about how to Beat the Heat, please visit www.toronto.ca/health.

Often high air pollution occurs during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and children (through their parents/caregivers), should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts available at www.airhealth.ca.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Susan Sperling, Toronto Public Health, (416) 338-7974 (weekdays), (416) 690-2142 (weekends only), ssperli@toronto.ca; Tanya Elliott, Canadian Red Cross, (905) 890-1000 ext. 202 or pager (416) 442-1948; For information about the Cooling Centres (Monday - Friday, business hours only): Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, (416) 397-1384

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