Preparedness actions for all vulnerable groups during heat waves


In what concerns heat waves (identified in subchapter 6.4 in source document), each risk level identified by the HHWWS (Heat Health Watch Warning System) provides specific information addressed to specific groups that are particularly vulnerable and/or have special needs in disaster situations. In particular, when Level 1 is forecasted, the preparedness actions also include recommendations (in Italian) for parents, friends and acquaintances, who should increase their attention towards elderly people who may need help, especially if they live alone. Furthermore, relatives are encouraged to reach out to local health and social services and alert them to this situation. When Levels 2 or 3 are forecasted, the preparedness actions also include recommendations (in Italian) for other vulnerable people, besides the elderly. In particular, specific attention is given to very young children, people with asthma and other respiratory diseases, people with disabilities or convalescent. In this particular situation, authorities recommend that the aforementioned categories of people avoid areas with heavy traffic, but also parks and green areas where the ozone levels might reach very high values, thus presenting a potential health risk. Information is also made available to those who are following a specific drug treatment. They are encouraged not to stop their current therapy plan but are advised to consult their doctor for possible adjustments to it. Information on the proper storage of medications is also provided. In addition, recommendations also cover the importance of not leaving dependent persons, children and the elderly, in the car parked in the sun, even for a short time (i.e. several minutes). When Level 3 is forecasted, general practitioners are alerted and perform a visit to the patients most at risk. The purpose of the visit is to assess the need for medical treatment or adjust the medical treatment followed by their patients, to plan the activation of social services for transportation of elderly people to air conditioned places, or the activation of house assistance. In the worst cases, some of these vulnerable categories are transported to hospitals.

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