Health Topics

Heat Warnings & Heat-Related Illness

The City of Hamilton’s Heat Warning and Information System (HWIS) includes seasonal monitoring and two levels of heat response: Heat Warning and Extended Heat Warning. Extreme heat puts everyone at risk of heat-related illnesses. People at increased risk include:

  • those age 65 and older
  • young children
  • people with chronic medical conditions
  • people who work and are active outdoors

It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family during heat warnings and extended heat warnings. Extreme heat can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. Take precautions to reduce your risk of heat-related illnesses.

Throughout the summer, please pay attention to the radio, TV, local newspaper, City website and social media for Public Health heat warnings or extended heat warnings, and for tips and services available in the community to beat the heat.

Response stages

There are two response stages and triggers:

Heat Warning

Heat warning icon

Two or more consecutive days forecasted with daytime highs greater than or equal to 31°C and nighttime lows greater than or equal to 20°C or two or more consecutive days with a Humidex of 40°C or greater.

Extended Heat Warning

Extended heat warning icon

Three or more consecutive days observed with daytime highs greater than or equal to 31°C and nighttime lows greater than or equal to 20°C or three or more consecutive days with a Humidex of 40°C or greater

Current Status

Heat warning status will update based on Public Health triggers. Learn more about the Heat Warning status

Places for residents to cool off

During a Heat Event various City of Hamilton and community sites are open for residents to go to cool off. After hours or on weekends and holidays, please contact the site to confirm hours. 

Leisure swims are FREE during Heat events! As part of the heat response plan, regularly scheduled Leisure Swims at all City of Hamilton indoor and outdoor pools will be free of charge. Pool capacity limits are in effect during a Heat Event. We may use swim rotations, depending on line-ups at each pool (i.e., people can swim for one hour only, and the next group of people can swim for one hour). There are many spray pads, additional cool places and outdoor pools across Hamilton.

During a Heat Warning, these places are open for residents to cool off. Check what hours they are open before you go.

City of Hamilton sites

Community sites

Summer Supie programs

Summer Supie programs in Hamilton parks will remain open but with modified; more passive programming during a Heat Warning.

Free drinking water

The Salvation Army gives out bottled water between 10 am and 2 pm at Gore Park during a Heat Event.

During an Extended Heat Warning, these places are open for residents to cool off. Check what hours they are open before you go.

City of Hamilton sites

Community sites

Summer Supie programs 

We close Summer Supie programs during an Extended Heat Warning.

Outdoor Fitness in the park programs

We cancel all free outdoor fitness in the park during an Extended Heat Warning.

Free drinking water

The Salvation Army gives out bottled water between 10 am and 2 pm at Gore Park during a Heat Event.

The City of Hamilton and participating community agencies are responding to the heat by offering “cool places” to go during all stages of a heat event. These locations can be identified by a “Cool Down Here” sign at the entrance.

Prepare for the heat

What you can do to prepare for the heat before it arrives:

  • If you take medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how your medication affects your risk for heat-related illness.
  • If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works properly. If you have ceiling fans or other fans, they can help as long as the temperature is not too high.
  • Talk to family, neighbours and friends and make a plan for visits on hot days. Visitors can see signs of heat-related illness that could be missed over the phone. Make plans to visit air-conditioned places such as a mall, library or community centre during heat events. Even a few hours every day in air conditioning will help.
  • During warm weather, check local weather forecasts so you know when to take extra care.

Extreme heat can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting. If you are experiencing symptoms, get help right away – call 911 if you need help.

Reducing your risk of heat-related illness

Take precautions to reduce your risk of heat-related illness such as:

  • Drinking lots of water
  • Going to an air-conditioned place such as your home, the mall, library or community centres.  See a list of City of Hamilton and community sites with air conditioning open to residents.
  • Wearing a hat and loose-fitting, lightweight clothes
  • Taking a bath or shower with cool water or if this is not possible, running cool water over your wrists or putting your arms or feet in cool water
  • Closing your blinds or curtains
  • Opening your windows to let air circulate while using a fan, only if the outdoor air is cooler than the indoor air
  • Limiting physical activity during the day
  • Having cold meals to eat
  • Cooking outside instead of turning on the stove
  • Calling your doctor if you have heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea and/or vomiting

Never leave pets or children alone in closed vehicles, especially when it is hot outside.

Help others by checking on your neighbours and family to make sure they are OK.

Information about what to do to reduce your risk of heat-related illness is available in the following languages: