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Heatwave Guidance – Level 2: Alert and readiness

Please note the Met Office have issued a Heat-Health watch alert.  We are now at Level 2:  Alert and readiness.  This alert will be in force until 09:00 on Tuesday 10 July

Level 2Heatwave is forecast – Alert and readiness

Here’s the Met Office Alert .

There is a 80 % probability of heatwave conditions between 0900 on Monday and 0900 on Tuesday in parts of England.

Southwest England80%Still very warm, locally hot, today, with the highest temperatures likely in the east. Temperatures then lower tomorrow (Tuesday), although still warm.

 During this period of time you should ensure the following is implemented.

Commissioners of health and social care (all settings)Providers – health and social care staff in all settings (community, hospitals and care homes)Community and voluntary sector and individuals

• communicate public media messages – especially to ‘hard to reach’ vulnerable groups

• communicate alerts to staff and make sure that they are aware of heatwave plans

• implement business continuity

• increase advice to health and social care workers working in community, care homes and hospitals

Professional staff (all settings):

• check high-risk people have visitor/phone call arrangements in place

• reconfirm key public health messages to clients

• check client’s room temperature if visiting

 

Care homes and hospitals:

• check indoor temperatures are recorded regularly during the hottest periods for all areas where patients reside (see attached temperature recording sheet)

• ensure cool areas are below 26°C

• review and prioritise high-risk people

• ensure sufficient cold water and ice

• consider weighing clients regularly to identify dehydration and rescheduling physio to cooler hours

• communicate alerts to staff and make sure that they are aware of heatwave plans

• ensure sufficient staffing

• implement business continuity

Community groups:

• keep an eye on people you know to be at risk

• stay tuned into the weather forecast and keep stocked with food and medications

• check ambient room temperatures

 

Individuals:

• stay tuned into the weather forecast

• check ambient room temperatures – especially those rooms where disabled or high risk individuals spend most of their time

• keep an eye on people you know to be at risk – ensure they have access to plenty of cool liquids

• look out for vulnerable neighbours

 

As you will be aware the Heat-Health Watch Period commenced on 1 June 2018 and will run until the 15 September 2018.  The Met Office (link below) monitor the situation and periodically send weather updates / predictions to nominated DCC Officers who in turn may forward to you information and requests for action should the need arise.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/heathealth/

The ‘Heat-Health watch’ system comprises of five levels of response, based on regional threshold day and night-time temperatures as defined by the Met Office.

Threshold temperatures for the South West region are 30 degrees C daytime and 15 degrees C night-time.

Level 0: Long Term Planning – year round long tern planning, so that longer term actions (such as those linked to spatial planning and housing) are taken to reduce the harm to health of severe heat when it occurs

Level 1:  Summer Preparedness – Summer preparedness runs from 1 June to 15 September when a Level 1 alert will be issued.

The heatwave plan will remain at Level 1 unless a higher alert is triggered. During the summer months, social and healthcare services need to ensure that awareness and background preparedness are maintained by implementing the measures set out in the heatwave plan.

Level 2:  Alert and Readiness – This is triggered as soon as the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60 per cent chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days to have significant effects on health.  This will normally occur 2 to 3 days before the event is expected.  As death rates rise soon after temperature increases, with many deaths occurring in the first two days, this is an important stage to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.

Level 3:  Heatwave Action – This is triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms that threshold temperatures have been reached in any one region or more.  This stage requires specific actions targeted at high-risk groups.

Level 4: Major Incident – Emergency response – This is reached when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside health and social care, such as power or water shortages, and/or where the integrity of health and social care systems is threatened.  At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups and will require a multi-sector response at national and regional levels.

The decision to go to a Level 4 is made at national level and will be taken in light of a cross-government assessment of the weather conditions, co-ordinated by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (Cabinet Office).


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