The objective is clear: "use all means to protect the most vulnerable" in the face of heat waves. The Minister of Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu presented this Thursday morning on franceinfo, some of the 15 measures contained in the government's heatwave plan, the whole of which will be unveiled this Thursday. "Climate change will lead to the multiplication of heat waves, justified Christophe Béchu at the microphone of franceinfo.
Since 2000, these heat waves have been in France five times more frequent than before 1989 and they will be twice as numerous within 30 years. In this respect, 2022 was quite emblematic of this trend with more than 1500 local heat records broken, 33 days of heat wave between early June and late August and the earliest heat wave ever recorded between 15 and 19 June.
To cope, the state plans a public campaign, indicating the work and behaviors to have within its housing, and the "right gestures" to prevent drowning or take care of its pets.
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Concretely, one of the minister's first wishes is to democratize the use of communal registers where vulnerable people can register. This system was put in place following the heat wave of 2003. But according to Christophe Béchu, "only 5%" of the targeted audience is registered. "Young people carrying out their Universal National Service (SNU) will be mobilized" to carry out prevention, announces the minister. A collaboration with Swiss Post to distribute flyers will also be set up.
The second point concerns schools and nurseries. "We will go to refreshed rooms", especially with the "installation of blinds" and "taking the habit of refreshing a place by not opening the windows". "We address the owners of these schools," he says. "If there are places where this is not possible, we must be able to find refreshed places in the immediate vicinity," he adds, adding that he does not exclude the possibility of installing air conditioning "if it is a question of preserving one space per school". Annual inspections of school buildings, including examination rooms, will also be carried out.
Then, a census of heat islands and fountains in the municipalities will be carried out and communicated to the population and prevention messages in transport and by SMS will be disseminated in case of hot weather. This will work via "FR Alert", a cell broadcast alarm system used by the state. Christophe Béchu wishes to remind the good gestures, in particular hydration and closing of the shutters. "There will be no steps to do for the user," says the minister.
The operators of the electricity network "RTE and Enedis will strengthen from the summer of 2023 the means of surveillance and intervention by deploying in particular emergency teams during heat waves and drought to avoid power cuts," also says the government.
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On the business side, a guide on measures and work to improve the temperature in offices will be put in place, while labour inspection controls will be intensified in the sectors most vulnerable to heat-related risks.
Finally, a census of cultural and sporting events, also subject to climatic hazards, will be carried out in each department in order to encourage them to adapt their organization in the event of a heat wave. In case of high risks, the prefects may have to postpone or cancel them.