Heatwave alert - be prepared

The Met Office and Public Health England have today (Thursday 15 June) declared a Level 2 heat health alert for the south east, with hot weather forecast to arrive on Sunday, lasting until Thursday.

At the same time, the Met Office  and  Public Health England  are warning that we will also have an unusual level of high UV across the whole country. This means that people may experience sunburn considerably quicker than usual - with current UK levels measured being about the same as those recorded in Gibraltar and Cyprus.

On these pages we want to provide you with information so you are well prepared and can also help the young, elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions who are more vulnerable to hot weather.

We will post regular updates here as well as our  Facebook and  Twitter pages.

We urge you to take care during the predicted heatwave.

Government advice during a heatwave is to:

  • Stay out of the heat.
  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can't avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day - for example, in the early morning or evening.
  • Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine or drinks high in sugar. If drinking fruit juice, dilute it with water. Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content. and when travelling ensure you take water with you.
  • Look out for others: Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool. Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave. Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.
  • Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C.
  • Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars.

Government advice for keeping your home cool:

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with long-term health conditions or anyone who cannot look after themselves.
  • Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun, closed during the day. External shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective but cheaper and easier to install. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat - consider placing reflective material between them and the window space.
  • Open windows at night if it feels cooler outside, although be aware of security issues - especially in ground floor rooms. Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment - they generate heat.
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a long-term medical condition or taking multiple medications and have unusual symptoms.
  • If you or others feel unwell, seek medical advice.
  • If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee.
  • If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, abdomen, for example, after sustained exercise during very hot weather), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes and if not, they should seek medical help. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist.

Keep in touch

In severe weather we will provide regular updates and important information on our: