by Staff Reporter
THE civil defence department has put the Balearics and 11 other regions on weather alert as the heatwave continues.
In addition to the Balearics, the other regions which were on alert yesterday were Andalucia, Asturias, the Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, Galicia and Madrid, while today the alert will be extended to Cantabria, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Ceuta and Melilla, but it will be withdrawn from Galicia. The minimum temperatures in the Balearics will rise to 23ºC, the weatherman said.
A spokesman for the Balearic chapter of the Red Cross said that it will be providing a free information and prevention service during the heatwave.
It will be aimed at the most vulnerable sectors of the population, such as the elderly, the chronically sick, the homeless, the disabled and children under the age of four. The service can be contacted through telephone 900 222 299.
Since the start of the summer, the Red Cross has been giving talks on how to cope with the heat wave at day centres and summer schools throughout the island. The Red Cross will provide periodical check ups on a weekly or daily basis, with volunteers visiting people who request aid.
Basic advice includes drinking plenty of water, wearing light clothing, avoiding strenous activity during the hottest part of the day, avoiding alcohol and eating sensibly. This is proving to be one of the hottest summers on record.
The demand for electricity has already set an all-time record, peaking at 955 megawatts at 1pm on Monday, as people switched on fans and air conditioning all over the island. The previous record had been set during the cold spell in January at 937 megawatts.
Demand for electricity will continue to rise, and Gesa-Endesa, the power company, expects the 1'000 megawatt barrier to be broken next month.
However, despite fears of a major blackout, as has happened in the past, the company says that the Majorca-Minorca grid will be able to cope, thanks to the improvements it has been making. But the company also stresses the need for a rational use of energy and advises people to switch off air conditioners if they are going to be absent for a period of more than four hours, programming it to switch itself on again half an hour before they return.

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