I think we can say Summer is now officially here so below are some safety tips to help keep families safe as the heatwave marks the start of the school holidays.
While the effects of too much sun can affect anyone, some are more at risk to the danger of hot weather including:
- Young children, babies, and the elderly, especially those over 75;
- People with serious chronic conditions and mobility problems such as Parkinson’s disease or those who have had a stroke.
- People on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control.
Top tips for coping in hot weather
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
- If you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat, avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm).
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter). Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water. If outdoors, apply a cold wet towel compress to her/his face and neck.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. If you must go outdoors, take along plenty of water to drink. If possible also take a small spray bottle with water for a sprayed cool-down. The elderly are at high risk of becoming dehydrated, a serious health problem. Watch out for dark urine, which may mean the need for more water.
- Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool.
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
- Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- Do not exercise outdoors. If you must exercise outdoors, only exercise in the early morning hours, before 8 a.m.
- Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
- Know the warning signs of heat stress or stroke: Instead of sweating, your elderly loved one may not sweat at all. Their skin is more likely to be dry, hot, and clammy. Other symptoms may include confusion, nausea, rapid pulse, and high body temperature. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to call 999!
Stay safe on the beach
- Wherever possible, swim at a lifeguarded beach. Find your nearest RNLI lifeguarded beach or search on goodbeachguide.co.uk.
- Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the entrance to the beach. These will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
- When on a lifeguarded beach, find the red and yellow flags and always swim or body-board between them – this area is patrolled by lifeguards.
- Never swim alone.
- If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
- If you see someone in difficulty, don’t attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
Blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out. If you do use them at the beach, then:
- ensure children are closely supervised
- keep near the shore
- only use between the red and yellow beach flags
- follow the lifeguard’s advice
- do not take inflatables out in big waves
- never use them when the orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea
- if you do get into difficulty, then stay with your inflatable as it will keep you above the water.
Sunburn can ruin your holiday and increase the risk of skin cancer in later life.
So please, keep safe this Summer and follow the S’s of sun safety:
- Sunscreen – slop on SPF 30+ broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreen every 2 hours
- Sun hat – slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears
- Sunglasses – wear wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes
- Shoulders – slip on a T-shirt or UV protective suit for children and remember to keep your shoulders covered
- Shade – seek shade, particularly during the hottest time of the day between 11am and 3pm when UV penetration is at its strongest
- Slurp – drink lots of water so that you stay hydrated during your time in the sun.
Children are safest when supervised.
As soon as you get to the beach, agree a meeting point in case of separation. If the beach runs a children’s safety scheme, using wristbands or tickets, take part. They’re free and they work. If you are on an RNLI-lifeguarded beach, visit the lifeguard hut on arrival and they can give you special wristbands to put your contact details on.
If a child does go missing:
- calmly check your surroundings first, ensuring other children remain supervised
- contact the lifeguards or police and keep them informed
- let all searchers know once the child is found.
I hope you all enjoy the sun while it lasts but do so in a safe way.
PSE 59753 Adam Sackett
Volunteer & Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer
East Kent Police
Police Station, Fort Hill, Margate, Kent, CT9 1HL
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org