Edmonton's Mustard Seed putting out call for water bottles ahead of anticipated heat wave

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With temperatures expected to rise to dangerous levels next week, the Mustard Seed is putting out an urgent call for water bottle donations to hand out to the city’s most vulnerable.

Environment Canada’s forecast for Edmonton shows temperatures are set to rise above 30 C starting on Saturday. The two hottest days are anticipated to be on Sunday and Monday, at 35 degrees. The hot weather brings increased risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Mustard Seed program director Kris Knutson said they’re already going through a lot of water bottles once the weather turned warmer, averaging about 250 a day. He said roughly 6,000 water bottles were provided in May and expects the demand to go up even more once the heatwave hits.

“You can combine this with the (COVID-19 pandemic) because public water fountains aren’t open,” Knutson said. “You can’t just go into a place and access water fountains anymore. There’s a real danger of dehydration and sunstroke, which can then cause all sorts of other medical complications.”

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He said the most vulnerable have been trying to find shade in parks as some public spaces aren’t fully open and shelters have limited capacity.

“We have a street outreach team out on the south side that takes care of the Old Strathcona community, and they will be out and about with water, delivering it to people,” Knutson said. “I’m fully expecting them to go through a large supply of water bottles over the next week as they do outreach to people who are outdoors.”

Those wishing to donate water bottles can do so by dropping them off at the community support centre at 10568 114 St., calling 780-426-5600 or donating cash at the Mustard Seed website.

Knutson said he encourages Edmontonians to be aware of people who are outdoors.

According to Alberta Health Services, heat exhaustion can occur when someone loses a lot of fluids over a period of time from sweating in a hot or humid environment. Common symptoms include headaches, weakness, fatigue, nausea, thirst, chills and profuse sweating. Those suffering from heatstroke should seek medical treatment as it can be fatal.

jlabine@postmedia.com

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