Recent heat-waves have caused serious health and social problems in the WHO European Region. These effects can be prevented. Prevention demands a proactive, multidisciplinary approach to preparedness, planning and response. Over the last few years, several countries have developed action plans, including France and Italy. These include the triggering of heat health warnings in case of certain meteorological conditions, activation of social and health care networks, development and distribution of a heatwave plan, provision of practical advice to the population and collection of real-time health data (for example, on mortality). The WHO Regional Office for Europe, in collaboration with The European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Affairs, has developed expertise through an EC project called EuroHEAT and has established a network to identify effects, risk factors, effective interventions and early-warning systems. Countries are invited to participate.