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Preparing Your BC Strata Community for Summer Heat and Smoke

June 12th 2024

At Kinetic Realty & Property Management, we value the health, safety, and comfort of our strata communities. As a strata management company based in Kamloops BC, we’re familiar with the effects of summer heat and smoke on strata communities. With summer on the horizon, it’s crucial to prepare for the challenges posed by extreme heat as well as smoke from wildfires. Here’s how we recommend getting ready:

Preparing for Summer Heat

Kamloops summer temperatures often rank among the highest in Canada, making it essential for strata communities to be well-prepared for the heat. We recommend proactive measures to ensure residents of stratas stay cool, comfortable, and safe. Where applicable, effective maintenance of HVAC systems, enhancing building insulation, and even creating shaded outdoor spaces are all useful strategies. Additionally, clear communication with residents about heat safety tips and nearby cooling centres will help everyone beat the heat. Here are some suggestions to help strata communities prepare for the summer heat.

HVAC System Maintenance

  • Inspection and Servicing: Ensure air conditioning units and ventilation systems are inspected, cleaned, and serviced to handle increased usage.
  • Filter Replacement: Regularly replace air filters to maintain good air quality and system efficiency.

Building Insulation and Shading

  • Insulation Checks: Verify buildings are adequately insulated to keep indoor spaces cooler.
  • Window Treatments: Install or upgrade blinds, shades, or reflective window films to reduce heat gain.

Outdoor Spaces

  • Shaded Areas: Create shaded areas in common outdoor spaces with canopies, pergolas, or large umbrellas. Consider planting shade trees in strategic locations for future years.
  • Cooling Stations: Set up cooling stations with misting fans or portable air conditioners in high-traffic areas.
  • A/C Efficiency: Remind residents that during the hottest parts of the day, air conditioning systems work best when windows are closed, ensuring more effective cooling and energy efficiency.

Resident Communication

  • Heat Safety Tips: Distribute information on staying cool, such as staying hydrated, wearing lightweight clothing, and avoiding strenuous activities during peak heat hours.
  • Cooling Centres: Identify and communicate nearby air-conditioned places like malls, libraries, and community centers where residents can go to cool down.

Emergency Preparedness

  • Heatwaves: Develop and share an emergency plan for heatwaves, including checking on vulnerable residents and ensuring everyone knows how to seek help if needed.

Child Safety

  • Window Safety: If the design of your strata’s windows presents the possibility of small children falling through them, warn residents about the dangers of open windows. Ensure window guards are installed and communicate the importance of keeping children away from open windows to prevent falls.

Preparing for Smoke from Wildfires

Smoke from wildfires often complicates summer living, impacting air quality and health. We understand the importance of safeguarding strata communities against these challenges. Proper preparation can significantly reduce the adverse effects of wildfire smoke. This includes monitoring air quality, ensuring buildings are well-sealed, and educating residents on health precautions. By taking some steps, a safe and comfortable environment can be maintained for all residents during wildfire seasons. Here are some suggestions to prepare for smoke from wildfires.

Air Quality Monitoring

  • Air Quality Alerts: Subscribe to local air quality alerts and share updates with residents, especially during wildfire season. Suggest that residents subscribe to these alerts as well.
  • Indoor Air Quality: Encourage residents to monitor and maintain good indoor air quality using air purifiers with HEPA filters.

Building Sealing

  • Seal Gaps: Ensure windows, doors, and other potential entry points for smoke are well-sealed.
  • Weather Stripping: Install weather stripping around doors and windows to minimize smoke infiltration.

Ventilation Strategies

  • Air Circulation: Use air conditioning systems that recirculate indoor air rather than pulling in outdoor air when smoke levels are high.
  • Portable Air Cleaners: Provide or recommend the use of portable air cleaners with HEPA filters in individual units.

Outdoor Activities

  • Limit Exposure: Advise residents to watch for health expert recommendations to limit outdoor activities when air quality is poor.
  • Designated Areas: Where applicable, consider creating indoor spaces where residents can safely congregate without exposure to smoke.

Communication and Education

  • Health Precautions: Educate residents on where to find accurate information on the health risks associated with smoke exposure, such as respiratory issues, and advise on precautions like wearing N95 masks.
  • Information Resources: Provide resources on how to track air quality and stay informed about wildfire developments.

Stay Safe This Summer

By taking these proactive measures, you can help ensure a safer, more comfortable environment for all residents of your strata during the summer. Regular maintenance, effective communication, and preparedness planning are key to successfully navigating the challenges of summer heat and smoke. Stay informed, stay prepared, and prioritize the well-being of your community.

For more detailed information or assistance with your strata management needs, contact us today.