RIVM uses the National Heatwave Plan to call attention to the potential health effects of heat, especially for vulnerable groups. RIVM collaborates with KNMI in the National Heatwave Plan and maintains close contacts with the Municipal Public Health Services.

Based on the weather forecast, KNMI calculates the chances of a period of lasting hot weather. If this seems very likely, KNMI will inform RIVM. KNMI will consult with RIVM to discuss the characteristics of the predicted heatwave, such as its duration, the humidity and the expected temperatures during the day and night.

If RIVM decides to activate the National Heatwave Plan, KNMI will issue a code yellow for heat in the affected provinces or for the entire country. In cases of extreme heat, KNMI can also give a code orange or code red.

What is RIVM’s role?

RIVM coordinates the planning and implementation of the National Heatwave Plan. RIVM evaluates KNMI’s updates about the chances of lasting heat. Based on that information, it decides whether it is necessary to send an email with a preliminary alert or an alert. RIVM has communication materials to support the Municipal Public Health Services and the relevant healthcare sector organisations and interest groups.

What is the Municipal Public Health Services’ role?

When it comes to the National Heatwave Plan, the most important task of the Municipal Public Health Services is to advise municipalities on the health risks of heat and how to communicate about these risks. By law, municipalities have a duty to identify and report on undesirable situations and to inform and advise the population with regard to health risks. Municipalities must also give information to the population and answer their questions (in accordance with the Dutch Public Health Act).

The Municipal Public Health Services can ask RIVM for advice and support when there is a reason or need to do so.

All Municipal Public Health Services are on the mailing list and are informed in a timely way. Each local Municipal Public Health Service is responsible for spreading this information in its own region.

Local heatwave plans

Local heatwave plans describe the agreements about the local or regional approach to the health effects of heat. Local heatwave plans focus on individual carers and professionals, care facilities and social organisations. They give information and help people carry out regular duties and additional measures during heatwaves. Local heatwave plans make it possible for municipalities to take local action during a period of heat, independent of the National Heatwave Plan. They include agreements about information and communication aimed at vulnerable target groups. This information promotes the self-sufficiency and mutual self-reliance of vulnerable people. The Local Heatwave Plan Guideline can help parties draw up a plan. Local heatwave plans can also be part of the climate adaptation strategies developed by municipalities, provinces and water authorities.