Heatwave Red Weather Warning | Our News

Heatwave Red Weather Warning

A red weather warning has been issued covering 00.00 on Monday 18 July to 23.59 on Tuesday 19 July. This is the highest alert that can be reached for a heatwave and the first time this level has been issued in England. 

This alert supports the level 4 emergency heatwave alert issued by UKHSA and Met Office indicating a 100% probability of Heat-Health Alert criteria being met at the start of next week.

What to expect:

  • Population-wide adverse health effects experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to serious illness or danger to life. Government
  • advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice.
  • Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines will be required.
  • High risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, potentially leading to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services.
  • Significantly more people visiting coastal areas, lakes and rivers, leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents.
  • Delays on roads and road closures, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays

 

For colleagues who are required to wear PPE:

With the current number of Covid-19 cases, some colleagues are required to wear PPE while they work. With temperatures predicted to hit the high 30s, there is an increased risk of those wearing PPE to suffer heat stress. This occurs when the body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Heat stress can cause heat exhaustion and lead to heat stroke if the person is unable to cool down.

Measures to control the temperature of clinical environments and enable staff to make behavioural adaptations to stay cool and well hydrated should be made. Staff may require more frequent breaks and the frequency of PPE changes may increase, with a resulting increase in demand.

Further information and actions regarding PPE and hot weather can be found here:  CEM_CMO_2021_012.pdf [pdf] 192KB

 

How to keep yourself and others cool during hot weather:

  • Keep hydrated. Have a water bottle on hand all day and drink little and often. And keep filling it up.
  • Keep blinds and curtains drawn. Try to keep your working environment out of direct sunlight – big office windows can make a workplace feel more like a greenhouse when the temperature is rising.
  • Stay out of the sun. Avoid going out between 11am and 3pm as it’s the hottest part of the day. This is useful advice to offer to your patients
  • Washing your face or using a cool spray can help you feel fresh. You can also offer patients small damp towels.
  • Wear loose clothing. Wear thin and loose clothing for work if possible. If you’re in uniform, try to avoid having too many layers on underneath or over your work wear.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. Drinks like tea and coffee are diuretics which increases water loss and contributes to dehydration. Try and stick to water or squash if possible.
  • Rehydration sachets are a great way to ensure you don’t get dehydrated if your job involves being on your feet. They replace vital fluids and body salts which are lost when you sweat.
  • Take breaks. If you can take some time away from your work, little and often is best to help keep you cool and refreshed. Make effective use of your breaks by resting, hydrating and get some fresh air.
  • Keep some freezer packs at work. While they’re intended to keep picnics cool in transit, they can also provide some welcome relief to your hands, feet and back of your neck to help cool you down.

 

With the heat wave alert being at it’s highest, Age UK have some advice on what adverse reactions to look out for in yourself, colleagues and family members:

  • Watch out for signs of dehydration – confusion, cramps, dark urine and feeling weak. You don’t have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated.
  • Be careful to avoid heat exhaustion – the symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and a fast pulse. If you feel unwell, lie down in a cool room, drink plenty of water and cool yourself with a splash of water.
  • Heat exhaustion could lead to heatstroke. Symptoms include falling unconscious and seizures. Call 999 immediately if you think you or someone might have heatstroke.
  • If you know it’s going to be particularly hot and you think you might struggle, ask someone to check on you. Equally, check on someone else you think might struggle in the heat.

Find out more about how to look after yourself and others here and here:  Age UK - staying cool in a heatwave.pdf [pdf] 252KB .

 

Further resources regarding hot weather can be found at GOV.UK:

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