Keep your cool: How to protect ourselves and our more vulnerable neighbours this summer

As our climate continues to change, the days of extreme cold and scorching heat have become the new normal. The Government of Canada says that these higher temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, extreme weather events and rising sea levels are just some of the changes affecting many aspects of our lives.

However, have you stopped to think how these changes affect those that don’t have somewhere to seek shelter?

We all can feel summer coming in fast - and protecting our more vulnerable neighbours, and ourselves, from the sweltering sun is more important than ever.

For those experiencing homelessness and living outside, extreme heat events can severely affect one’s health. One result of being exposed to extreme heat for a long time is hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a higher-than-normal body temperature caused by the body's inability to cool itself down, usually due to prolonged periods of heat exposure.

What are the main symptoms?

  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

If left unchecked, hyperthermia can lead to life-threatening heat stroke.

Who is most at risk?

  • People without homes
  • Older people
  • Infants, young children
  • Outdoor workers

Unfortunately, many vulnerable populations face additional challenges, such as mental illness and drug and alcohol consumption. These challenges can make it hard to know when and how to take care of themselves during a very hot day. This can include not knowing when or where to find water or shelter. If you see someone outside in the heat with these symptoms, call for help immediately.

A great way to show you care is to share these cooling tips.


  • Educate yourself and educate others on the warning signs of hyperthermia
  • Do your errands and travel earlier before the heat of the day
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes, preferably white
  • Donate water, sunscreens, and hats to charities. The Mustard Seed is a terrific charity to consider. The Mustard Seed gets your donated items to those in need.
  • Hand out water and sunscreen to those in need.


Finding a cool place is crucial to avoid overheating. These are great places to keep your cool. Direct others to these locations and provide transportation if possible.

  • Malls
  • Libraries
  • Outdoor cooling stations. These usually include overhead misting a water fountain for you and your pet. It usually has a water filling station, too.

Let’s all do our best to keep cool this summer.


Alberta Resources- for Shelters, Housing Support and Addictions Calgary Homeless Foundation - Supportive Resources
Government of Canada - How to get prepared for extreme heat.



  • Downtown Community Impact Centre: 102 11 Ave SE, Calgary, AB


  • Community Support Centre: 10568 114 St NW, Edmonton, AB


  • West End Shelter: 181 Victoria St W, Kamloops, BC

Medicine Hat

  • Community Impact Centre: 503A Allowance Ave SE, Medicine Hat, AB

Red Deer