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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4623-4648; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124623

Heatwave Early Warning Systems and Adaptation Advice to Reduce Human Health Consequences of Heatwaves

1,2,* , 3
1 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, SE 901 87 Umeå, Sweden 2 Centre for Health Communication and Participation, Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing, La Trobe University, 3086 Plenty Road, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia 3 Department of Medicine, Stanford University, 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 September 2011 / Revised: 29 November 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 12 December 2011
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Introduction: With climate change, there has been an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwave events. In response to the devastating mortality and morbidity of recent heatwave events, many countries have introduced heatwave early warning systems (HEWS). HEWS are designed to reduce the avoidable human health consequences of heatwaves through timely notification of prevention measures to vulnerable populations. Objective: To identify the key characteristics of HEWS in European countries to help inform modification of current, and development of, new systems and plans. Methods: We searched the internet to identify HEWS policy or government documents for 33 European countries and requested information from relevant organizations. We translated the HEWS documents and extracted details on the trigger indicators, thresholds for action, notification strategies, message intermediaries, communication and dissemination strategies, prevention strategies recommended and specified target audiences. Findings and Conclusions: Twelve European countries have HEWS. Although there are many similarities among the HEWS, there also are differences in key characteristics that could inform improvements in heatwave early warning plans.
Keywords: heatwave; adaptation; early warning system; prevention heatwave; adaptation; early warning system; prevention
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Lowe, D.; Ebi, K.L.; Forsberg, B. Heatwave Early Warning Systems and Adaptation Advice to Reduce Human Health Consequences of Heatwaves. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 4623-4648.

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