Nearly 200 climate shelters to beat the heat in the city
With the arrival of summer and the hot weather, the number of climate shelter available to people in the city is being increased by 42. The 197 climate shelters are available from 13 June to 15 September and include municipal facilities and public spaces offering more comfortable temperatures for users and those vulnerable to the heat.
Municipal facilities acting as climate shelters include libraries, local facilities in neighbourhoods and districts, municipal sports centres, parks and gardens, schools and museums. While these places maintain their normal uses, they can also be used as spaces to get away from the high temperatures.
A temperature of around 26 degrees is recommended, particularly for people vulnerable to heat, such as babies, the over-75s, people with chronic illnesses or people with limited resources. These shelters have good accessibility, offer water and safe places for people to relax in. However, they are not meant as an option for people requiring medical treatment. In this case, people should approach their local health centre.
A climate shelter ten minutes from home
There are climate shelters all around the city. This year’s figures mean that 95% of people in Barcelona have one within a ten-minute walk from their home. Even so, the City Council continues to work to increase the number of facilities and activities available year after year, with an equal social and territorial spread to ensure that all local people have such facilities five minutes from their homes. Priority is also being given to neighbourhoods with less coverage and with the most vulnerable populations.
In 2020, there were 70 such spaces, while now there are nearly 200 of them.
Services activated to protect people from the heat
In addition to the network of climate shelters, the city’s various social services are ready to respond to people who find themselves in vulnerable situations which can come about in the city as a result of excessive heat. These services are headed by the Barcelona Social Emergency and Urgent Care Centre (CUESB).
The Municipal Telecare Service calls its 90,000 users to offer advice and measures on prevention, a task mirrored by the Home Support Service (SAD), which also calls its 22,000 users.
Prevention protocols plan for different levels of risk according to temperatures. The Barcelona Public Health Agency monitors cases of heat stroke which occur, while the CUESB acts as a point of reference when high temperatures force the preventive stage to be elevated to an alert stage or emergency stage, where the risk to people is at its highest.
In a scenario of maximum risk, the CUESB can transfer vulnerable people to climate shelters if necessary and organise a specific team in public streets to distribute water, offer information and even, if needed, warn the emergency medical services should extreme situations occur.
Advice to beat high temperatures
In a heatwave, follow these safety recommendations:
- Keep blinds down and open windows at night to keep the home cool.
- Freshen up often with showers and towels doused with water, use ventilators, air-conditioning and fans, and if you don’t have these, spend a couple of hours a day in cool or air-conditioned places.
- If you need to go outside, avoid the hottest hours of the day.
- Stay hydrated and eat light meals.
- Wear light clothing and use sunscreen.
- Take shelter in air-conditioned public spaces and take care of young children and the elderly.