Last Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | 9:12 AM ET Comments0Recommend4CBC News
Environment Canada continued their high heat and humidity warnings on Tuesday for Montreal, Laval and surrounding areas on the north and south shores. (CBC)Ambulance crews in Montreal are struggling to cope with a spike in 911 calls due to the heat, ambulance service officials said.
Most of the calls they received over the past 24 hours are from people with breathing problems due to the hot weather, officials at Urgences Santé said. Monday's temperatures peaked at 32 C, but with the humidity, Environment Canada estimated it felt closer to 40 C.
Urgences-santé said it's no coincidence paramedics are handling one and a half times the usual number of calls. Spokesperson Benoît Garneau said in such hot weather, ambulances have to be pulled away from non-emergency jobs, like transporting patients between hospitals.
Environment Canada continued their high heat and humidity warnings on Tuesday for Montreal, Laval, Drummondville, Bois-Francs, Lachute, Saint-Jérôme, Lanaudière, Mauricie, Québec City, Richelieu Valley, Saint-Hyacinthe, Vaudreuil, Soulanges, Huntingdon.
The Quebec Lung Association said the hot weather is exacerbating smog problems. President Louis Brisson said there are too many cars on the road, and the summer weather creates a vicious cycle.
"People just keep idling because it's too hot, they want to keep their air conditioners on, so you can imagine all this put together with the heat," said Brisson.
Brisson said up to 1,800 Montrealers die each year from smog-related illnesses, many of which happen in the summer.
Still, Montreal public health said there's no need to launch emergency heat wave plans, which involve checking on the sick and elderly and setting up heat shelters. They say temperatures aren't quite high enough for that.
Emergency plans would only be launched if the city spends three straight days above 33 C or two nights above 25 C.