Code Orange

The Netherlands and Belgium have recorded their highest ever temperatures today. The Dutch meteorological service, KNMI, said the temperature reached 39.1C (102F) at Gilze-Rijen airbase near the southern city of Tilburg on Wednesday afternoon, exceeding the previous high of 38.6C set in August 1944. City records in Amsterdam and Brussels are also expected to fall. Cities are particularly vulnerable in heatwaves because of a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect, in which concrete buildings and asphalt roads absorb heat during the day and emit it again at night, preventing the city from cooling. KNMI has issued a code orange extreme temperature warning for everywhere except the off shore Wadden Islands and implemented its “national heat emergency” plan, while Belgium has taken the unprecedented step of placing the entire country on a code red warning.

Here are some guidelines, measures, tips and lifehacks you need to consider to stay safe during these days:

  • Drink enough water
  • Wear thin but protective clothing
  • Use sun screen
  • If you are outside, look for a place in the shade
  • Limit physical activity in the afternoon
  • Keep your house cool
  • Pay extra attention to dependants, such as children, people from a high-risk group (elderly, chronically ill, overweight or people in a care home) and pets
  • Fill plastic bottles almost full with water and freeze. When frozen, place in a shallow bowl to catch the condensation and place in front of a fan – instant airconditioning!
  • At night, put a fan close to an open window to draw in the cooler night air
  • On tile or vinyl floors: spread a thin layer of water and let evaporate – the evaporation cools the air
  • Close curtains and windows during the hottest parts of the day. When cooler, open up and let the breeze blow through
  • Besides drinking lots of liquids make sure to also take in enough salt to replace what you lose in sweat
  • Stay out of the sun between 10:00-14:00
  • Place cool washcloth on the back of your neck for 15 minutes to decrease your body temperature
  • Eat lots of ice cream (our favorite tip!)
  • Think about the birds and insects as well – they get very thirsty too! Leave bowls with water outside (or on your balcony) for the birds and a spoon full of honey for the bees (with such heat there is often not enough nectar for them to feed on)

Do you have more tips or lifehacks? Share them on social media so more people can benefit from them! 

Stay cool and safe! 

Connect International team

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Media Attributions
Yellow Flowers Photo by Dua Chuot from Pexels