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(Update) Sudden-death toll rising in Burnaby amid heat wave: police

Burnaby RCMP responded to 15 sudden-death calls Monday; 19 before noon Tuesday
Burnaby RCMP's bike squad prepares to patrol Central Park in 2017.

Burnaby RCMP is urging people to check on loved ones and neighbours as officers respond to a rising number of sudden-death calls during the ongoing heatwave.

On Monday, when temperatures reached 42C, local police responded to 15 reports of sudden deaths, according to a Burnaby RCMP twitter post.

By noon Tuesday, they had responded to 19 more, the post said.

Heat is believed to have been a contributing factor in the majority of the deaths, and many of the deceased have been seniors, according to police.

“Check on your neighbours, check on family members, check on seniors you may know,” spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said in a news release. “We are seeing this weather can be deadly for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues. It is imperative we check on one another during this extreme heat.”

Burnaby RCMP activated its extreme heat response plan on Friday, deploying extra officers for proactive patrols to reach vulnerable and unhoused community members and connect them with resources, including information about three City of Burnaby cooling locations.

The centres are located at:

• Edmonds Community Centre (7433 Edmonds St.)
• McGill Library (4595 Albert St.)
• Bob Prittie Metrotown Library (6100 Willingdon Ave.)

 “As we see the devastating impact of the heat, we want people to know there are safe and cool places for them to take refuge from this extreme weather,” Kalanj said.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor