Montenegro Red Cross readies for summer heat23/07/2013 - by by Louisa Whitlock, Climate Centre
Potentially dangerous heatwave conditions are becoming a frequent summer occurrence for the countries of South-East Europe.
Recognising the risk, the Montenegro Red Cross (MRC) has taken a leading role in raising public awareness about the risks of hot weather.
Working with the Institute of Public Health and the Hydrometeorological Institute, and supported by the German development agency, the MRC has developed a public awareness and education campaign for heatwaves this summer.
During July and August, the Red Cross and members of the country’s lifeguards service will be distributing brochures containing heatwave recommendations developed by the Institute of Public Health.
Additional safety information will also be carried in local newspapers and a special TV spot has been produced.
First developed by the South-East European Forum on Climate Change Adaptation (SEEFCCA) – an EU-funded initiative of the Austrian, Croatian, Macedonian and Montenegrin Red Cross, with the Environment Improvement Center and WWF in Serbia – the TV spot has been specially adapted by the Red Cross in Montenegro.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the risks of heatwaves and high temperatures – including dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion – and encourage people to take preventive action.
Two important messages are to drink plenty of water and to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day.
Close coordination with the Hydrometeorological Institute of Montenegro allows awareness-raising efforts to be stepped up when extremely hot weather is forecast, adding an early-warning element to the campaign.
‘Heatwave first aid’
The Montenegrin heatwave campaign is reported in the latest (July 2013) SEEFCCA newsletter.
Early this week, Montenegro was one of 11 European countries with territory under “extreme high temperature” and/or forest fire warnings from the EUMETNET network of European meteorological services, linked from the homepage of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The UK has this month been experiencing what is described as its first proper heatwave since 2006, with temperatures reaching the low 30s Celsius in South-East England.
The British Red Cross is another National Society to link “heatwave first aid tips” prominently on its homepage.
Montenegro Red Cross volunteers taking part in a first aid demonstration during the Medceur 2010 international disaster simulation exercise. The National Society is one of many in Europe offering tailored first aid tips for heatwaves as very hot summer temperatures become more frequent.
(Library photo: Montenegro Red Cross via IFRC)