The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, through the General Directorate of Public Health, active from and until September 15 the Plan of Preventive Actions of the Effects of Excessive Temperatures on Health, which establishes the measures necessary to reduce the health effects of people associated with excessive temperatures and coordinate the Canary Islands institutions involved, activating the Archipelago’s health care system for emergencies.
The General Directorate of Public Health, which has coordinated since 2004 the Plan of Preventive Actions of the Effects of Excessive Temperatures on Health in the Canary Islands, has established a epidemiological surveillance system of the impact of high temperatures on the health of the population coordinated with the assistance and emergency centers of the Canary Islands, as well as the notification to these centers and the affected municipalities of the forecast of alert situations.
Likewise, Public Health will provide information to the media to provide useful advice and practical measures to prevent the effects of exposure to elevated temperatures. All the information available will also be disseminated through the social networks of its digital channel www.canariasaludable.org
With these actions it is intended increase individual preventive capacity to cope with the heat applying measures that are easy and accessible. The plan is aimed at the entire population, and specially designed for the population groups most vulnerable to intense heat such as the elderly, children and people with chronic diseases.
From a social point of view, marginalization, isolation, dependency, disability, the living conditions of people with fewer resources, add risk factors that make groups even more vulnerable, precisely because of their socio-economic conditions. , they should be more supported.
Specifically, all hospitals and the Canary Islands Emergency Service (SUC) have specially designated and trained personnel to deal with and effectively coordinate services in the event of a possible heat wave, as well as the established communication channels.
Temperature thresholds and risk levels
To be able to speak of a warning of health risk due to heat in the strict sense, maximum and minimum temperature must be reached simultaneously. This is known as temperature thresholds, which are set each year by the State Meteorological Agency. For the two Canarian provinces the temperature threshold is 32 degrees maximum and 24 degrees minimum.
The Plan for the Prevention of the Effects of High Temperatures on People’s Health establishes four different levels of health risk, depending on the expected temperatures and their duration in time:
If the maximum and minimum temperatures expected do not reach the established threshold, it corresponds LEVEL ZERO or absence of risk (which is represented by the color green).
The Level one or low risk (yellow color) when the weather forecasts point to temperatures equal to or higher than 32 maximum and 24 minimum (in the case of the Canary Islands) for one or two days.
Level two or medium risk (orange) is activated, if the expected duration is 3 or 4 days.
Level three or high risk (red) is activated, if the expected duration reaches 5 days or more than expected duration.
Other preventive plans in the Canary Islands
Faced with a situation of maximum temperatures, the Government of the Canary Islands can activate this Plan for the Prevention of the Effects of High Temperatures on the Health of People, with a warning of health risk, as well as its Specific Plan for Civil Protection and Care of Emergencies of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands for Risks due to Adverse Meteorological Phenomena (PEFMA), through the declaration of alert for risk situations for the population, property and the environment.