Cologne (dpa/lnw) - Perforated fire hoses that moisten heat hotspots, drinking water dispensers throughout the city and a heat etiquette full of tips - all of these are part of the Cologne heat action plan. The metropolis, which is one of the warmest places in Germany due to its geographical location in the Rhenish Bay, is considered a pioneer in the field of heat prevention.
The three-year project "Heat action plan for elderly people" was completed at the end of June. The project was funded by the Federal Environment Agency, the scientific partner was the Geo Health Center of the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health at the University Hospital Bonn.
Part of the project was a survey of 260 senior citizens from differently structured districts. Among other things, it was about finding out whether older people take note of heat warnings and, if so, how. "It was important to realize that there was not such a big difference between socially weaker and stronger districts," explained Marita Hey from Cologne's environmental and consumer protection agency. "The personal situation of the people was more decisive: What kind of apartment do you live in? Is there a place in the shade? Things like that. Apparently the topic is rarely discussed in doctor contacts." The seniors get their information primarily from local radio stations and television.
As a consequence of the project, the city of Cologne is now providing more information about heat waves than before, for example via the information boards for local public transport or via the heat portal on its website. Although many senior citizens do not use the Internet that often, the city relies on multipliers such as home lines. A survey of 32 nursing homes was also part of the project - heat prevention therefore plays a greater role there. Some facilities said they could use more cool rooms. In addition, the shortage of carers is often particularly great when it gets hot, because many are on vacation.
Cologne has also set up 13 drinking water dispensers - pillars from which drinking water that can be bottled constantly runs out in a thin stream. "There are many other ideas that we want to take up," said Hey. "Above all, we want to include other vulnerable groups, such as small children, people with chronic illnesses or workers who do heavy physical work outside."