Heatwave: How to stay safe and cool while at home or when travelling

Brighton during hot weather - PA
he Met Office's first ever amber alert for extreme hot weather is due to remain in place until Thursday. Credit: PA Images

Drivers are being urged to take care when travelling during this week, as the heatwave continues to grip the south.

It comes after the Met Office issued a first ever amber alert for extreme hot weather covering the South East.

The trigger level for the region is 31°C on two or more consecutive days and 16°C during the night.

Hampshire County Council says the warning means there is a 90% chance that heatwave conditions will last until 9am on Friday (23/07) in parts of the country.

Highways England is advising people to properly prepare for their journey in the heat, as more journeys are expected as the school holidays begin.

What can I do to keep myself safe?

  • Take bottles of water with you;

  • Plan and leave plenty of time for journeys;

  • Check the weather forecast for your destination;

  • Check travel conditions before setting out;

  • Ensure you and your cars are fit for the journey

Dan Lacey, Highways England National Network Manager, says drivers should also prepare by checking the tyre pressure, tread, oil and coolant levels of their vehicles.

He says: "During the pandemic and foreign travel restrictions, we are seeing a lot of people making staycation journeys, particularly to the South West. We’re asking people to check their vehicles, assess travel conditions before they set off and be prepared."

Ian Thompson, South West Regional Operations Manager, Highways England, says they've seen "really busy" staycation traffic since mid-April and are expecting travel numbers to increase over the next week, especially over the weekend.

  • Ian Thompson, South West Regional Operations Manager, Highways England:

Meanwhile, residents in Sussex are being asked to be aware of health risks posed by the extreme heat.

The county's NHS says people should look out for older people and those with underlying health conditions and help to protect them against dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

A spokesperson for NHS Sussex says: "For some people, a heatwave can pose a serious health risk, especially older people, children and babies and those with long-term health conditions."

How can I keep myself cool in the hot weather?

  • Use sunscreen with at least factor 30 SPF

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Avoid excess alcohol

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm

  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler

  • Take water with you when travelling

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, Clinical Director, Sussex CCG says everyone can be at risk of falling ill because of the hot weather, regardless of age and fitness levels.

He says: "It's a balance between heat and hydration. If you haven't got enough fluid, then you body can't cool itself down. Make sure you drink plenty of water."

  • Dr Richard Fieldhouse, Clinical Director, Sussex CCG:

Homeless people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be offered more support, as the council's Severe Weather Emergency Protocol is in place for the next three days.

St Mungo’s, the council’s outreach team, will be increasing their usual checks on individuals across the area during the very hot weather.

Councillor Hazel Allen, Lead Member for Homelessness, says people who are on the street will be given water and suncream and regular welfare checks.

She says: "We also have a number of cooling-off locations where people will be directed to if they need somewhere safe to rest in the cool and receive support."