There were 23 deaths in Langley believed to be linked to the intense heat wave that struck in late June and early July this year, according to a new report from the BC Coroners Service.
Langley saw the fifth-highest rate of deaths in B.C., according to the new report.
Vancouver saw 99 deaths, Surrey 67, Burnaby 63, new Westminster 28. Chilliwack was the sixth highest with 22 deaths, and Abbotsford saw 20.
A total of 595 heat related deaths are now believed to have taken place across B.C. starting the week of June 18, and ending in mid-August, according to the report.
BC Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said the service is hoping to prevent future mass deaths if there are similar heat waves in coming years.
“By identifying patterns and factors in the tragic deaths that occurred unexpectedly last summer, our province will be in a better position to prevent future similar tragedies,” she said.
The worst week was from June 25 to July 1, when the “heat dome” effect drove temperatures in B.C. to unprecedented highs, with Langley seeing daytime highs of above 40 degrees Celsius. A full 526 of the deaths took place in that one week, with some of the deaths in the weeks following attributed to damage done to victims who did not die immediately.
In the immediate aftermath of the worst day of the heat dome, the Langley RCMP had reported being called to a wave of sudden deaths, with eight people, all over the age of 70, dying before the end of June.
Seniors are considerably more vulnerable to heat, especially those living without air conditioning.
According to the Coroners Service report, people over 70 accounted for 69 per cent of all the deaths. No heat-related deaths of children were reported.
Individual investigations of all 595 deaths are expected to be complete by early next year.
At that time, a panel of experts will create recommendations to prevent similar heat-related mass death events
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