Health & Safety during Heatwaves: Preparing for Hot Weather in Summer 2023

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Summation

  • There is an art to staying cool in hot weather – an art which is lost on many in the UK, due to the rarity of warm weather and the limited experience that citizens have with it in the summer, or on holiday.
  • A few desk fans dotted around your home can be enough to keep the cool air moving, but if you have the funds, an air conditioning unit can be an absolute lifesaver – if only to keep one room in your home temperate.
  • To ensure your car's air conditioning is working as it should, you should get an air con regas as part of your next service – this way, you won't find yourself sweltering in mid-summer traffic.

Last year, the UK experienced its highest-ever temperatures as part of a historic heatwave. In July, a two-week heatwave saw parts of Britain reach temperatures above 40 degrees, with fatal consequences for older people. The heatwave was the latest in a line of climate-change-fuelled weather shifts and was by no means isolated; more heatwaves are predicted for 2023. What can you do to prepare for dangerously hot weather such as this?

Watching the Weather

While weather forecasts are notoriously hit-and-miss when it comes to accurate weather and time predictions, they are still an indispensable resource for your heatwave planning. Granted, they might sometimes struggle with predicting the odd sunny spot, but a week-long heatwave is something else entirely.

With a keen eye on the forecasts, you’ll be the first to know of any oncoming heatwaves, giving you ample time to make any last-minute preparations that you need. Of course, advance preparation is ideal, but there’s always one more thing you can do to make yourself more comfortable.

Air Con – At Home and In Your Car

A few desk fans dotted around your home can be enough to keep the cool air moving, but if you have the funds, an air conditioning unit can be an absolute lifesaver – if only to keep one room in your home temperate. This is well worth buying in advance, as prices for anything related to keeping cool can inflate dramatically as summer arrives.

It is also worth taking the time to think about the air con in your car, too. Even though you’d be well-advised to stay inside at the worst of the heatwave, sometimes travel is unavoidable. To ensure your car’s air conditioning is working as it should, you should get an air con regas as part of your next service – this way, you won’t find yourself sweltering in mid-summer traffic.

Keeping Your Cool

There is an art to staying cool in hot weather – an art which is lost on many in the UK, due to the rarity of warm weather and the limited experience that citizens have with it in the summer, or on holiday. With each heatwave, a fresh round of tips and PSAs filter through news articles, illustrating the well-heeled and safe ways to remain cool in dangerously warm weather.

One such piece of advice relates to keeping the internal temperature of your home down. The first instinct may be to throw any and all windows wide open – but this can have the opposite effect, instead displacing cooler internal air with the hot and humid air from outside. To keep your home cool, instead, keep all the curtains drawn and all windows shut.

When moving around outside, the temptation can be to wear ‘holiday’ clothing – short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts – to remain cool. But this allows sweat to evaporate off your skin much quicker, raising your body temperature and dehydrating you at a faster rate. Wearing long-sleeved clothes keeps the sweat trapped against your skin; ensuring those clothes are light or white means more sunlight is reflected than absorbed, keeping you cooler for longer.

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