PALMA THE Balearic Red Cross has helped and treated a total of 70 people so far this month as part if its annual “heat wave” operation. Balearic Red Cross chiefs Marta Soler and Jaume Damians presented this summer's campaign yesterday and said that last year, during July and August, the Red Cross treated a total 164 people for heat related problems.

The main risk groups of the elderly, the young, the sick and those working in the sun.
This year, the Red Cross has improved and expanded its summer operation with the opening of a new national central contact office which is manned 24 hours a day and provides either information or immediate care to anyone suffering from the heat.

Damians, head of Red Cross's IT services in the Balearics, said that just two days ago, the first of this current mini heat wave, the centre received 30 calls from the Palma municipality alone while, since the start of the month, its has handled 3'000 calls nation wide.

Jaume Damians added that all of the regional Red Cross officers are connected to the main contact centre and a network of experts can be consulted on-line and at any time depending on the problem or the weather.

The Red Cross operates on a four-level heat warning system which really kicks in once the day time maximum reaches 35.2ºC and the night time minimum fails to fall below 21.6ºC.

Level green is the lowest when neither the maximum nor minimum reach the benchmark temperatures.
The Red Cross steps up to level yellow if the temperatures are going to be slightly above the norm for at least two days.
Orange is when temperatures are forecast to remain high for three to four days while Red alert is ordered when temperatures either bear or pass the benchmarks maximum and minimum for a period of five days or more.

Marta Soler, head of the Balearic Red Cross social intervention unit, said that while Operation Heat Wave is fully prepared to respond to heat waves, it is also designed to help protect the public and prevent people from falling victim to the heat.

As part of the campaign, the Red Cross will be handing out hats and fans in strategic points along with leaflets alerting people to the dangers and how best to beat the heat.

The first Heat Wave campaign was launched in 2005.
The central contact service can be called on 902 222299