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Heat-Health Watch

A Heat-Health Watch system operates in England and Wales from 1 June to 15 September each year in association with the Department of Health and the Welsh Assembly.

The Heat-Health Watch system comprises four levels of response based upon threshold maximum daytime and minimum night-time temperatures. These thresholds vary by region, but an average threshold temperature is 30 °C by day and 15 °C overnight.

Current watch level: Level 1 - Summer Preparedness

Issued at: Friday 2 August 2013 at 08:42

Temperatures are not expected to reach heatwave threshold values until further notice.

Heat-Health Watch regions

Regional map

Guide to Heat-Health Watch

Heatwave threshold values

Threshold temperatures
Region Day max (°C) Night min (°C)
North East England 28 15
North West England 30 15
Yorkshire and the Humber 29 15
East Midlands 30 15
West Midlands 30 15
East of England 30 15
South East England 31 16
London 32 18
South West England 30 15
Wales 30 15

These temperatures could have significant effect on health if reached on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night.

Level 1: Green — Summer preparedness and long-term planning

This is the minimum state of vigilance during the summer. During this time social and healthcare services will ensure that all awareness and background preparedness work is ongoing.

Advice: If you want more information about hot weather and your health please visit www.nhs.uk. If you are concerned about your health or somebody you care for, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or your local pharmacist.

Level 2: Yellow — Alert and readiness

Triggered as soon as the risk is 60% or above for threshold temperatures being reached in one or more regions on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night. This is an important stage for social and healthcare services who will be working to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.

Advice: Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.

If you want more information about hot weather and your health please visit www.nhs.uk. If you are concerned about your health or somebody you care for, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or your local pharmacist.

Level 3: Amber — Heatwave action

Triggered when the Met Office confirms threshold temperatures for one or more regions have been reached for one day and the following night, and the forecast for the next day is greater than 90% confidence that the day threshold will be met. This stage requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups.

Advice: Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.

If you want more information about hot weather and your health please visit www.nhs.uk. If you are concerned about your health or somebody you care for, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or your local pharmacist.

Level 4: Red — Emergency

Reached when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system. At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.

Advice: Stay out of the sun. Keep your home as cool as possible — shutting windows during the day may help. Open them when it is cooler at night. Keep drinking fluids. If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do.

If you want more information about hot weather and your health please visit www.nhs.uk. If you are concerned about your health or somebody you care for, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or your local pharmacist.


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