World health organization

Making hospitals safe in emergencies: country examples

Medics tend to an elderly woman at the Saint Antoine hospital in Paris
AP/Franck Prevel


The heatwave in Europe in 2003 hit France and its health sector hard. Close to 15 000 people died during the 16-day heatwave. The French government developed a warning system to respond quickly with life-saving actions. It aims to give public authorities three-day warning of a likely heatwave so steps can be taken under the "national heatwave plan." In parallel, a surveillance system is used in 120 health facilities to monitor the number of patients coming to emergency departments with heat-related illnesses.

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