With temperatures reaching record levels, an emergency plan to deal with the heatwave was put into effect Friday after a meeting convened by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry with representatives of the ministries of Labor, Health, Interior and Migration, as well as the National Center of Emergency Assistance (EKAB) and the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE).
This plan entails the mobilization of almost the entire state mechanism for the protection of vulnerable groups, the prevention of forest fires and the smooth operation of critical infrastructures, including water and power networks.
Regarding the risk of fire, the fire service was placed on partial alert, with traffic to be prohibited in suburban forests, while joint patrols are expected to be set up with the participation of the police and the army (if deemed necessary) to detect any new blazes as soon as possible.
“We call on the citizens to refrain from activities that could cause a fire,” said Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis.
Given that strong winds are not expected in the next few days, fire service officials point out that the problem could be more serious due to the dry conditions in the period immediately after the heatwave.
Bearing this in mind, it was decided at Friday’s emergency meeting that the crews of DEDDIE and Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) will be on standby so that in case of overloads due to the intense use of electrical appliances, they will be able to repair any damage quickly.
The possibility of deploying – if conditions require it – power plants that are out of operation was also discussed.
Hospitals and EKAB were also asked to be on standby, while police will be on alert to assist with patient transportation.
“Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, the health system has been put on emergency alert,” said Chrysochoidis.
It was also decided that municipal and regional authorities should provide rooms with air-conditioning on a 24-hour basis for members of vulnerable groups, while large capacity tents with air-conditioning will reportedly be installed at refugee reception and identification centers.
Extraordinary measures were also announced for those employees who, due to the nature of their work, are exposed to the heat, such those serving in the armed forces.