“Paris under 50°C”: the capital tests the resilience of its inhabitants

“Paris under 50°C”: the capital tests the resilience of its inhabitants

On the occasion of Resilience Day, this Friday, October 13, the City of Paris organized a major role play involving, among others, citizens, schools and firefighters. Called “Paris under 50°C”, this project aims to assess the resistance of Parisians to episodes of extreme heat. But above all, it aims to put in place prevention policies to protect the inhabitants of the capital from future heatwaves.

Friday June 25, 2032, Paris. The thermometer displays more than 39°C and risks rising up to 50°C. The heatwave has lasted for two weeks and the air is becoming unbreathable. This scenario will be “experienced” this Friday by around fifty people living in the capital, who have agreed to participate in a life-size exercise aimed at preparing for extreme heat. Orchestrated by the City of Paris, the project has been in preparation for a year. It will take place on October 13, the date of National Resilience Day, created in line with the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction of the United Nations.

The experience will take place in the morning and afternoon, in two districts of the capital: in the 19th arrondissement (Danube) from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then Place de Rungis (13th arrondissement), from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Neighborhood residents, nursing home residents, school classes… Many actors agreed to take part in this role play, including the Paris police headquarters, civil protection associations and members of the Fire Brigade . They will have to plan for several situations, some of which involve incidents, for example a power outage or a shortage of medicines.

The exercise will “analyze the consequences of such an event on the lives of residents and test the fluidity of the decisions of the municipality and its partners”. A “tabletop crisis exercise” will then be planned for October 17, in order to test the ability of the City and its partners to “deal with a heat dome across the Parisian territory and deploy devices suited to the situation“, explains the City of Paris in a press release.

In the French capital, heat waves and heatwave episodes are becoming more and more intense, earlier and more frequent. If the objective set by the Paris Agreement (keeping the rise in global temperatures below 2°C) is not achieved, the Parisian population could experience significant increases in temperature from 2050. The records observed during recent years indicate that this is already the case: in July 2019, the mercury rose to 43°C and 40°C in June 2022. This extreme heat is all the more worrying as it does not not only have consequences on the health and well-being of residents, but also on biodiversity.