Heat, ozone levels trigger federal alarm plan
3 July 2006, BRUSSELS — The government's alarm plan against warm weather and extreme levels of ozone in the air was triggered over the weekend.
3 July 2006
BRUSSELS — The government's alarm plan against warm weather and extreme levels of ozone in the air was triggered over the weekend.
It means the nation's emergency services are on high alert, but anyone who has problems with the heat or ozone levels are advised to see their GP first.
"The emergency services in the hospitals are already overworked and will be burdened even more if people go directly there," Health Ministry spokesman Dirk De Groof said.
"The family doctor is the first line of help. In 99 percent of cases, he can perfectly resolve the problems."
The alarm phase was triggered over the weekend as temperatures soared to 30 degrees Celsius and the amount of ozone in the air reached worrying levels at 20 locations on Saturday.
The heatwave is expected to continue until Thursday and an ozone warning has been issued for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The highest concentrations of ozone over the weekend were recorded in the north of the country.
People who are sensitive to air pollution are advised against undertaking heavy physical exertion outside.
But ozone levels could even breach the EU-advised acceptable limit in coming days, posing possible problems to all members of the public and not just people sensitive to air pollution.
Higher death rates are often recorded during warm weather. In 2005, the death rate was 10 percent higher than normal on 27 and 28 May and from 20-26 June.
The hot summer of 2003 in Belgium also claimed the lives of an extra 1,300 people than normal.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news