The Extreme Heat Intervention Plan has existed in Sherbrooke since at least 1998 and has undergone several revisions. The most recent and comprehensive revision was completed in 2012, following a heatwave in the summer of 2010 that likely resulted in many deaths across the province of Quebec (see ‘resource’ for more). The summer of 2010 was, at the time, the hottest on record in 63 years of recorded meteorological observations. The 2010 heatwave peaked in early July, with maximum temperatures reaching 30°C or more, minimum temperatures above 20°C, and high humidity. One of the critical components of the newer iterations of the plan was obtaining a more accurate understanding of the differing magnitudes to which extreme heat affected different neighbourhoods in the City; this was accomplished by creating a heat map and allowed for a more precise understanding of the most efficient means of distributing resources.
After having completed a study looking at how extreme heat affects vulnerable persons, the City of Sherbrooke, Quebec launched an ambitious Extreme Heat Response Plan (Plan Particulier d’Intervention – Chaleur Extrême) to help protect its citizens. The document specifically addressed the impacts felt when the heat remains above 31°C during the day and 18°C during the night for a period of longer than two days. The response plan was robust and multifaceted, taking into account vulnerability mapping, buildings operations, cooling centres, transportation for vulnerable persons, and more. The plan was put into action during the heatwave of 2010 and resources were mobilized in accordance with the plan to open cooling centres, extend hours on existing cooling infrastructure, and provide transit to people with mobility issues.