Types of emergency

Heatwave

Severe heat during summer can be very damaging to the health, and on rare occasions can be fatal.

Heatwave

For regular warnings and updates on weather forecasts visit the Met Office website

  • If a heatwave is forecast, try to plan your day so that you can avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm).
  • If you can't avoid strenuous activity like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning.

Who is most at risk from the heat?

Everyone should be careful in the sun, but some groups are more at risk than others. Those at greater risk are as follows:

  • older people - check on older neighbours and relatives as often as possible, reminding them to drink plenty and often
  • babies and young children - ensure they are kept in the shade and given regular drinks throughout the day to prevent them from dehydration
  • people with mental health problems
  • people with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
  • people who already have a high temperature from an infection
  • people who use alcohol or illicit drugs
  • people with mobility problems

Advice for looking after yourself and others

  • stay hydrated - always carry water with you and drink regulary even if you do not feel thirsty. Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee as they can make dehydration worse.
  • wear protective clothing - wear loose fitting clothing, a hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
  • generously apply sunscreen - cover all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or towelling.
  • seek shade - stay in the shade when appropriate, especially between 11am-3pm when the sun's UV rays are at their strongest. Avoid taking part in outdoor activities such as sports, DIY or gardening during these times. 
  • stay cool indoors - stay in the coolest rooms of your house keeping curtains closed, and take regular cool showers or baths. Open windows in different locations throughout your home, leaving doors open if possible to create a breeze throughout the house which will aid the cooling process. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment as they generate heat. Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.

Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS direct if you have any concerns about your health, skin or the effects of heat.

NHS Heatwave advice  

Keep skin safe in the sun

Travelling on the underground

During hot weather, the number of passengers who become unwell on trains increases. Follow these tips to help keep yourself and others well:

  • remove coats and jackets when on a train
  • carry a bottle of water with you at all times
  • pay attention to the people around you - offer a seat to anyone who may need it
  • open the windows in the carriage end doors
  • do not travel if you feel unwell
  • if you become unwell during your journey, alight the train at the next station and request help from staff on the platform or via a help point 

Check the Transport for London website reguarly for updates. 

Protecting pets

  • Ensure you protect pets by either bringing them inside or ensuring they are provided shade. Give them appropriate amounts of water and remember to refill as required. Never leave any pets alone in a car, especially during a heatwave. 

RSPCA guidance

Saving water

The COVID-19 outbreak, which has seen more people staying at home, and spells of hot and dry weather have led to a significant rise in demand for water. 

To play your part:

  • Avoid using sprinklers and hose pipes
  • Only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they're full 
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth

See Affinity Water's website for more information.

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Page last updated: 29 Jun 2020