Topic of the Day - Heat wave risk reduction

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Heat wave risk reduction

Heat Wave

  • World Meteorological Organization defines a heat wave as five or more consecutive days during which the daily maximum temperature exceeds the average maximum temperature by five degrees Celsius.
  • If the maximum temperature of any place continues to be more than 45° C consecutively for two days, it is called a heat wave condition.
  • Heat wave is also called a “silent disaster” as it develops slowly and kills and injures humans and animals nationwide.
  • In India, heat waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.
  • Heat waves are more frequent over the Indo-Gangetic plains of India.

Heat wave risk reduction

  • Early warning system and inter-agency coordination –Temperature forecasts and heat alerts will must sent as bulk messages on mobile phones
  • Medical upgradation and administrative measures –Heat treatment wings planned in hospitals, and heat alerts would trigger early morning shifts for schools and offices.
  • Public Awareness and community outreach –Disseminating public awareness messages on how to protect against the extreme heat-wave through electronic, print as well as social media, and IEC materials.
  • Collaboration with NGOs and civil society organizations –to improve bus stands, building temporary shelters, wherever necessary, improved water delivery systems in public areas and other innovative measures to tackle Heat wave conditions.
  • Assessing the impact –feedback for reviewing and updating the plan for heat wave disaster risk reduction.

Do’s and Dont’s as suggested by National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India:


  • Drink enough water and whenever possible, even if not thirsty.
  • Schedule strenuous jobs to cooler times of the day.
  • Increasing the frequency and length of rest breaks for outdoor activities.
  • Pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition should be given additional attention.


  • Do not leave children or pets in parked vehicles.
  • Avoid going out in the sun, especially between 12.00 noon and 3.00 p.m.
  • Avoid wearing dark, heavy or tight clothing.
  • Do not engage in exhausting activities when the outside temperature is high. Avoid working out in the sun between 12 noon and 3 p.m.
  • Avoid cooking during peak hours. Open doors and windows to ventilate cooking area adequately.
  • Avoid drinks that dehydrate the body like tea, alcohol, coffee and aerated drinks.
  • Avoid food items high in proteins and completely avoid eating stale food.

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