Dangerous scorching temperatures this summer have Britons sending emergency messages under the UK’s new warning system.
Messages will warn the public when hot spells are likely, could harm their health and where the NHS could face the greatest pressure.
Launched today by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office, the colour-coded ‘Heat Health Alerting (HHA) system’ will provide regional information and advice to Britons.
It will also send guidance directly to NHS England, government and healthcare professionals.
Experts hope the measures will help reduce the number of illnesses and deaths among the most vulnerable.
Launched today by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office, the colour-coded ‘Heat Health Alerting (HHA) System’ will provide regional information and advice to Britons
Warnings are coded green, yellow, orange, and red to match the current weather warning system used by the Met.
HHA operates year-round, but the core alert season runs from June 1 to September 30.
A similar system for a cold health alert platform is currently under development and is expected to launch in November.
Red, the highest alert level, indicates a “significant risk to life,” even in people considered healthy.
The red ’emergency aid’ is expected to affect all sectors, from healthcare to transportation.
An amber warning – ‘enhanced response’ – indicates that heat is likely to affect the NHS and the whole population may be at risk.
Non-health sectors may also begin to see impacts and a more significant coordinated response may be required.
It may require a “more significantly coordinated response” with non-health sectors, the UKHSA and the Met said.
Yellow alerts – called ‘response’ – can be issued if the heat is likely to cause vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, to struggle to cope.
Green, known as “preparedness,” indicates non-distressing temperatures.
No warning signal is given as the conditions are likely to have minimal impact and health.
People can Register here to receive the alerts.
Dr. Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the UK Health Security Agency, said the alert system would play a “critical role” in protecting public health, alerting professionals and the public.
He added: ‘Last year saw record high temperatures across England and there is evidence that heat waves are likely to become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting in the coming years and decades.’
“It’s important that we can quantify the likely impacts of these heat waves before they arrive to prevent disease and reduce deaths.”
Will Lang, Head of Situational Awareness at the Met Office, said: ‘We look forward to working even more closely with UKHSA following the changes to the heat health warning system, which builds on the work we have already done together.
“The effects of human-induced climate change are already being felt in British summers with an increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of extreme heat events in recent decades and temperatures in excess of 40C being recorded for the first time last summer.”
Pictured are people on the beach in Brighton, East Sussex on July 19, 2022 as temperatures hit 40?C for the first time in the UK
Intense temperatures also sparked bushfires across the UK on July 19, 2022, with fire services in London, Hertfordshire, Bucks, South Yorkshire and Leicestershire announcing major incidents. Pictured above, the dramatic blaze in the East London village of Wennington engulfed a row of houses as the blaze spread from the grass
He added: ?The updated health warnings will complement and run alongside our National Severe Weather Warnings, and will play a critical role in helping to save lives, protect property and the economy as we all work to address of bad weather and climate change. ahead.
‘Only by working closely with organizations such as UKHSA can effective measures be taken when it matters.’
During periods of high temperatures, health officials are urging people to stay indoors with curtains drawn and to avoid caffeine and alcohol and exercise during the hottest times of the day.
The UK faced record-breaking heat waves last summer when the mercury surpassed 40C (104F) for the first time ever.
At the time, health chiefs warned that the UK needed to adapt to a safe life, with even hotter summers inevitable in the future due to climate change.
It was also Britain’s deadliest summer on record, with an additional 2,800 fatalities during the five heat wave episodes.
Hot weather can cause dehydration, which causes the blood to thicken.
It also lowers blood pressure, making it more difficult to pump blood around the body. This can lead to blood clots and strokes.
Overheating can make symptoms worse for anyone who has heart and breathing problems.
Heat alert system launched to warn Brits when scorching temperatures pose a risk to life