Important advice to keep people safe as heatwave temperatures soar again in Leicestershire

Published: Thu 11 August, 2022

Check on vulnerable people in the heat

Health experts and the emergency services in Leicestershire say they are concerned about another prolonged heatwave affecting the county this week.

Representatives from the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Resilience Forum met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss the risks posed by temperatures that have soared over 30 degrees this week and are expected to remain at that level until at least Sunday.

The Met Office has issued an amber extreme heat warning and said there will be a threat to the health of vulnerable people.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it remains very worried about fires breaking out in parched areas, having dealt with a number of large wildfires in recent days.

People are being urged not have barbecues to reduce the risk of fires igniting in the dry conditions.

Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Callum Faint said: “Heat like this can really push us to the limit. 

“The ground is bone dry and we are not expecting any significant rainfall to improve the situation any time soon.

“It takes very little for big fires to spread out of control and we have to mobilise considerable resources to tackle them and keep people and property safe, so we are urging people to be really careful.

“I know it’s tempting to take advantage of the great weather by firing up the barbecue, but we’d ask people not to do so at this time.

“I’d also ask people to be really careful when disposing of cigarettes. Ensure you put out cigarettes fully and never dispose of them on the ground.”

Barbecues are banned in parks in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Leicester City Council’s head of parks and open spaces, Stewart Doughty, said: “Leicester has some beautiful parks and we want everyone to enjoy them. It doesn’t take much to be considerate to those around you – just save the barbecues for at home and have a picnic instead.

“The risk of fire in these conditions is very real and could be devastating, which is why our bylaws do not allow barbecues.”

Mr Faint added: “I’d also like to remind people it is extremely dangerous to try to use rivers, lakes ponds, and quarries to cool off.

“As tempting as it is to swim in bodies of water, the risk of it ending in tragedy is great.  Please be sensible.”

Leicestershire’s director of public health, Mike Sandys, said: “Although we are not expecting temperatures like we experienced in the heatwave last month it is still going to be very hot indeed – certainly hot enough to be a risk to people with health issues – and this coming heatwave will last longer than the one we saw in July.

“Again, I’d like to remind everybody to drink lots of water, and try to avoid spending too much time in the sun.

“It’s also important to keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives.  It doesn’t take long to check up on them and make sure they are okay.”

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense.

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • look out for others, especially older people, young children, and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • drink plenty of water; sugary, alcoholic, and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • open windows when it feels cooler outside and it’s safe to do so
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, or animals
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes

Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only. Seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice.

Water company representatives also attended this week’s meeting and though they say there is still adequate supply, demand was surging in the hot weather, so they have asked people to conserve water where possible.

More information and advice about coping with extreme heat is available on the Leicestershire County Council website.