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Calls for help spike alongside temperatures

The sun is seen in this undated file image. (Pixabay/Pexels) The sun is seen in this undated file image. (Pixabay/Pexels)

With temperatures sitting above 30 C on Tuesday, Edmontonians are being urged to take precautions and check in on the vulnerable.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services says it has responded to 21 incidents of pets locked in vehicles and four incidents involving children or adults since July 1.

Through the entire month of July 2023, EFRS said it responded to 32 calls of pets in vehicles and 31 events involving people.

"Edmonton Fire Rescue Services will only break windows to gain access to vehicles if there are immediate signs of distress or danger," an EFRS spokesperson said in an email to CTV News Edmonton on Tuesday. "If this is not the case, we will radio in to our dispatch centre to request the assistance of AMA, and our partners will arrive on scene and open the vehicle for us."

Alberta Health Services says EMS has attended 16 heat-related emergencies between July 3 and Tuesday.

"The majority of the calls were related to sun exposure while doing outdoor work or participating in sporting activities," spokesperson Kerry Williamson noted.

The Edmonton branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, which handles 211 calls, says it has seen a 40 per cent increase in calls since the start of July compared to last year.

"Yesterday we saw the biggest spike with a 50 per cent increase, 124 calls. This compared to our daily average in 2023 of 77 calls per day," spokesperson Emma Potter said Tuesday.

"We expect the volumes to stay high over the next week as temperatures continue to rise."

Potter noted calls are still below the peak in the winter months, where a record-setting 344 calls were received in one day.

If you see anyone in distress from the heat, call 211.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the 30s or high 20s for the next week.

AHS has information online about how to protect yourself from heat and sun. 

For more information on what to do if you see a child or pet unattended in a vehicle, visit the Edmonton Police Service website.