Brussels braces for heat wave

The heat is on.

Brussels will be engulfed by the heat wave that is set to hit Western Europe from the weekend onwards — and the city is bracing for the consequences.

As the mercury soars toward 40 degrees Celsius, the city’s preparation includes outreach from the city on simple ways for residents (and their pets) to cope with the extreme heat: Drinks lots of water, eat regularly and avoid physical effort. Pet owners should attempt to keep their animals inside in shady areas, and make sure they have enough water to drink.

Public swimming pools have been open on Sundays since the start of summer, and have longer opening hours than normal.

Public transport workers and even firefighters are allowed to wear shorts at work, according to spokespersons for STIB and the firefighters. Brussels also brings in specific rules when the temperature tops 28 degrees — as the city activates its Heatwave Plan.

As part of that plan, teams at the city’s so-called Neighborhood Houses, in charge of providing socio-cultural activities, move to protect vulnerable and isolated people. Seniors, people with disabilities and those who live in houses unfit for the heat get visits from college and high school students who are hired to ensure that they are coping with the weather, and check if they need any assistance.

A phone number (0800 35 243) is also available to call for help from social workers if needed.