Two recent deaths in the Cariboo-Chilcotin may be related to the unusually cold weather, the B.C. Coroners Service warned Friday, urging everyone to take special care of themselves.
One of the deaths occurred west of Williams Lake in Anahim Lake on Dec. 4, where a man in his 50s was found outside in very cold conditions, Barb McLintock of the Coroners Service told the Tribune.
The second death took place in LIkely where a man in his 60s who had several health problems was found deceased in his home, McLintock said.
“It was a likely combination of being cold and having preexisting health problems,” McLintock said of the second man’s death. “This often happens where we have people who are frail and have medical issues.”
Hypothermia can be a killer for anyone, but the elderly, frail and mobility-challenged may be particularly at-risk if in circumstances where their core body temperature dips, McLintock added.
The BC Coroners Service, she noted, is reminding everyone that this can happen even in a residence or other building if the outdoor temperature is cold enough and the heating system for the building fails for some reason.
“Especially in more rural and remote areas, neighbours are urged to watch out for each other and ensure everyone has shelter, warmth, water and food during the cold snap.”
With Environment Canada forecasting lows of -22 C in Williams Lake and as cold as -35 C for Puntzi Mountain for today (Friday) it is especially crucial that precautions be taken when outdoors because of the windchill factor.
Another heightened risk in cold weather is fire or carbon-monoxide poisoning, especially if people turn to makeshift arrangements to try to maintain warmth in their homes.
McLintock said a third death, believed to be related to the cold weather, occurred in Chilliwack.