Hot weather across England - warnings and advice issued
Warnings about exceptionally hot weather across large parts of England have been issued by the Met Office and UK Health Security and remain in place for Tuesday 19 July.
The Met Office has issued a “red” warning for the very first time and this covers northern and eastern parts of Oxfordshire and other parts of England on Monday and Tuesday. All other parts of Oxfordshire and the rest of the country is under an “amber” warning. The Met Office may change their warning over coming days and it is worth monitoring their forecasts.
Meanwhile on Wednesday 20 July there is a Met Office weather warning for potential thunderstorms.
- The government has advice on keeping cool at home and also staying safe in hot weather
- The NHS has good information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and how to cope in hot weather .
- The UKHSA's COVID-19 and summer temperatures blog post also provides advice on how to stay well in hot weather.
- If you need medical help that is not life-threatening, contact NHS 111 who will give you advice and point you to the best service for your needs.
Advice from Fire and Rescue
Our Fire and Rescue Service advises the following in hot weather conditions:
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw the end on the ground and never throw cigarette ends out of car window
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland/grassland; sunlight shining through glass can start fires. Take them home and or put them in a waste or recycling bin
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside
- Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area - never leave them unattended - dispose of the ash carefully when it is cold
- If you see a fire in the countryside, don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water - leave the area as quickly as possible and report it to the Fire and Rescue Service immediately.
Meanwhile earlier this year firefighters undertook a campaign to give people good water safety advice ahead of the summer . This advice certainly applies during the current exceptionally hot weather.
Information relating to homeless people
During the heatwave, St Mungo’s Outreach team will provide water, cups and sunscreen to people on the streets during its daily rounds. Homeless Oxfordshire will open O’Hanlon House to anyone experiencing rough sleeping that wants to get out of the sun between 12 noon and 7pm. Oxfordshire Homeless Movement offer further practical advice on their webpages.
If you want to help someone who is on the street:
- Check if they are happy to accept items such as water, sunscreen, food etc.
- Ask a nearby café if they will let you ‘pay it forward’, purchasing items for the person to collect.
- Help the person to send a StreetLink alert or find a local support service if they are in need of essential provision.
Household waste and recycling centres
On Monday 18 July and Tuesday 19 July, Oxfordshire's household waste and recycling centres will open at 8am but close early at 1pm due to the heat.
Schools update this page on the county council website should they make a decision to close for any reason including the weather.
Information relating to any local power/electricity issues can be found on the websites Powertrack and Western Power Distribution.
If people experience a power cut, the national number to call is 105. It’s free of charge.
The thoughts of local health experts
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “While hot weather is enjoyable for most people, it can be uncomfortable for others. Sadly experience tells us that exposure to excessive heat can make people seriously ill. We should all take sensible precautions to protect ourselves during warm periods to prevent heat-related health issues.”
Lily O’Connor, Director of Urgent Care for Oxfordshire, said: “Over the past few days, we have seen older people coming to our busy Emergency Departments for heat-related issues. Taking a few simple steps can make a big difference to your health in hot weather. Please take care, and keep an eye out for elderly or more vulnerable relatives and friends. People are often more comfortable at home than in hospital, and we want to avoid preventable trips to hospital wherever we can.”
Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which, if not treated quickly, can be very serious. We are asking people to follow NHS advice about changing your behaviour to cope better with the expected high temperatures and therefore prevent avoidable 999 emergencies.
“We continue to prioritise our response to those patients with life-threatening and serious emergencies but, due to current levels of pressure we are seeing, there will be delays in responding to other patients with less urgent needs who are assessed as requiring an ambulance response.
“We are asking patients to help us at this time by seeking alternative treatment or advice via NHS 111 online or by calling 111, using local urgent care centres or speaking to their GP or pharmacist. We are also asking people not to call 999 back to ask about an estimated time unless the patient’s condition has changed. This keeps the line free for someone who may need urgent assistance.
“For people calling 111, please do not hang up and call again as this will send you to the back of the queue. You can answer questions about your main symptoms using NHS 111 online and, if needed, a healthcare professional will call you back.”
Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, GP and Clinical Lead for Oxfordshire, said: “While the good weather maybe welcome to some it, can also come with significant health risks particularly for the elderly, the very young and people with long term health conditions, like diabetes, COPD or heart failure.
“It is really important for people of all ages, to make sure that they stay well and safe by drinking lots more water than usual to stay well hydrated. It is also advisable to stay out of the direct sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm and avoiding any extreme exercise or exhertion during these times If you do start to feel unwell or poorly then contact NHS 111 in the first instance.”