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Athens Launches ‘Heat Alert’, Opens Air-conditioned Spaces for Heatwave

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The Municipality of Athens announced this week that it would be launching a “Heat Alert” that will inform residents and visitors of extreme hot weather and provide information on protection as the first heat wave of the summer hit Greece this week.

The health alert classifies extremely high temperatures into four categories:  

– Category 0: High temperatures: Danger to the health of vulnerable people

– Category 1: Very high temperatures: Follow the instructions and avoid prolonged exposure to heat – Inform vulnerable people

– Category 2: Very high temperatures: Danger to health – Take precautions – Prepare to help vulnerable people

– Category 3: Extreme temperatures: Significant health risk – Take maximum precautions.

Athens follows the example of Seville, which launched a similar program earlier this week naming and ranking heat waves. The Athens program is being carried out by the National Observatory of Athens in collaboration with the Arsht-Rock Resilience Center. 

In addition to the heat alert messaging service, the municipality’s action plan includes a special help hotline [210-3638049], regular updates on its new #coolAthens website here, the EXTREMA | Global app providing risk information and maps to cooling centers, Greek Red Cross units are patrolling the city, and support is offered to the elderly through the city’s “Help at Home” program.

Greece is currently experiencing extremely high temperatures for the season reaching over 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country on Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to drop tomorrow evening.

Residents and visitors in the city are advised to avoid being outdoors if possible, stay out of direct sunlight, drink plenty of water, and avoid heavy physical work.

At the same time, the high temperatures are increasing the risk of forest fires. Last year, a heatwave preceded the wildfires that devasted Evia and Attica. The country’s fire fighters are on high alert.

In the meantime, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) issued a statement this week outlining the legal responsibilities of employers for the protection of employees against the heat.

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