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People encouraged to stay safe in coming heatwave

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey is the chairman of the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum

People are being urged to take care of themselves and avoid putting additional pressure on health and emergency services in next week’s heatwave.

Hospitals are already experiencing unprecedented numbers of attendances to their Emergency Departments. This is partly due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and they are expecting an increase in heat-related health issues over the coming days.

East Midlands Ambulance Service is also stretched and will struggle to cope with potentially avoidable strain.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is dealing with an increase in field fires caused by the heat and is urging people to do everything possible to ensure accidental or intentional fires are prevented.

The service is also asking people not to go swimming in open water during periods of extremely hot weather as this often leads to the need for rescue and can potentially cause drowning or serious injury.

And Northamptonshire Police is urging people to avoid excess alcohol as this can lead to dehydration and have a knock-on effect on their health and behaviour, causing additional pressure on policing resources.

Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer and Chair of the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) said: “Information from the Met Office suggests temperatures could reach the high 30s Celsius in the shade at the start of next week, and we’re really concerned about the impact that’s going to have.

“I think we can guarantee there will be pressures on emergency and health services, so we’re asking people to be sensible, take some simple precautions, and minimise the risks.

“It’s important to remember that our staff are people too, and many of them will need to be on the front line irrespective of the weather.

“Please make sure you don’t do anything that puts yourselves or each other in harm’s way, and if you’re a parent, I would urge you to make sure you know where your children are and what they’re doing.

“We would also encourage people to ensure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and be careful when they dispose of items such as disposable BBQs or cigarettes as they can very easily lead to fires being started in dry temperatures.”

Very high temperatures can also affect the operation of vehicles, and can cause the deterioration of road surfaces, potentially putting additional pressure on recovery services.

“I think the simple message is, if you don’t have to travel during this extreme weather, it’s probably best not to as you might put yourself and others at risk,” added Mr Dovey.

Anyone who does need to travel should take some simple precautions such as ensuring they have sufficient water, and an emergency kit should they break down.

Also, please remember never to leave anyone in a hot car for any length of time, particularly children or pets.

People are asked to use 111.nhs.uk if illnesses or injuries are not life threatening. They will receive advice straight away and if required, a clinician (health professional) will contact them back.

You can find more top fire safety tips by visiting our #Safe4Summer campaign page here.

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