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Guidance Document

Heatwaves and health: guidance on warning-system development


This guidance considers who is at risk from heat, outlines approaches to assessing heat stress, presents the science and methodologies associated with the development of Heat–Health Warning Systems, overviews heat-intervention strategies which are a necessary part of any truly integrated HHWSs, considers the problem of communicating heat risk and how to evaluate HHWSs and draws attention to the essential elements of summer heat plans within which HHWSs are nested.

The purpose of the Guidance is to act as a catalyst for bringing together key players from climate, health, emergency-response agencies and decision-makers, as well as the general public, for initiating action concerning the overall management of heat as a hazard.

The Guidance has been produced to have global applicability. It has drawn on expert opinion and the acquired experience of a wide range of people and institutions involved in the development of warning systems and heat plans. In particular, it has been enriched by information contained in the US Environment Protection Agency’s Excessive Heat Events Guidebook and reports of the projects funded by the European Commission under its fifth (1998–2002) and sixth (2002–2006) framework programmes: Assessment and Prevention of Acute Health Effects and Weather Conditions in Europe (PHEWE), Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies for Human Health (cCASHh) and Improving Public Health Responses to Extreme Weather/Heat-Waves (EuroHeat).

Reference information

World Health Organization

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 11 2022

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