Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH Air conditioning, a necessity and not a luxury for vulnerable populations

Air conditioning, a necessity and not a luxury for vulnerable populations


City of Vancouver Planning Commission Chair Robyn Chan came across the report while doing preparatory research for the sad anniversary of the heat dome that killed 619 people last year in British Columbia. The majority of these victims were people who had no air conditioning system in their homes.

The 2017 report examines the installation of heat pumps in its buildings in 2010-2011 – devices that not only heat but also cool buildings during periods of high heat – and the lessons to be learned from this change.

This report describes in particular the ways in which certain tenants succeeded in circumventing the settings of the air conditioning system and claims that some have abused it since they were not the ones who paid the electricity costs.

He also specifies that BC Housing turned off the air conditioning in 179 units in three buildings in Vancouver and one building in Surrey.

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The decision to turn off the air conditioning was made not based on the comfort or health of the tenants but rather based on financial interestssaid Robyn Chan.

A spokesperson for BC Housing says air conditioning was restored to one of the affected properties this year, in light of the report, and that work is underway to reactivate it at the other three locations.

Since there is still room for improvement, we have taken decisive measures to be ready for intense heat events.he said, citing an initiative to distribute fans, portable air conditioners and water sprays to certain tenants on a case-by-case basis.

Ventilation issues

Gabrielle Peter, a public policy analyst and writer with a disability, believes the incident reflects a widespread attitude in British Columbia about air conditioners.

The current provincial campaign to raise awareness of extreme heat events is an example, she said. They give advice to those who are least likely to die from the heat and disregard everyone else.she says.

I believe that people should be able to pollute as much as they want if it is a matter of life or death. »

A quote from Gabrielle Peters, Public Policy Analyst

Gabrielle Peters points out that many low-income people live in small, poorly ventilated apartments where air circulation only passes through the windows, leading to an increased risk of heat exhaustion.

Telling people to put a damp cloth over their forehead is not an effective preventative measure against intense heat.

Ms. Peters calls for diversified policies to distribute air conditioners to populations at risk and to help them install them in their homes.

The latest coroner’s report examines the possibility of classifying these devices as medical equipment and making them accessible to vulnerable people.

He also recommends changes to the building code with respect to heat.

With information from Akshay Kulkarni

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