With high temperatures
forecast for the weekend and into next week, South East Coast
Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), is urging people
to be sensible and take appropriate measures to stay safe in the

A heatwave warning has been announced for the region. The warmer
weather brings with it a likely increase in certain calls for the
ambulance service.

The weekend is also expected to see high UV levels across the
whole country meaning people may experience sunburn considerably
quicker than usual.

Calls relating to sunburn, dehydration and heat stroke typically
increase although many of these calls can be avoided if some simple
precautions are taken.

High temperatures can also seriously affect people with
long-term conditions such as heart conditions or high blood
pressure. SECAmb is urging these people to be equally cautious
during the hot weather.

SECAmb Head of Resilience & Specialist Operations Andy
Cashman said: “Of course, we want people to be out enjoying the
fine weather but we’re also urging them use their common sense,
cover up and use sun cream and drink plenty of water.

“Everyone needs to follow this advice but there are some groups
in particular whose health can be badly affected by the hotter
weather. These include people with long-term health conditions, the
very young and older people. If people know of anyone who could be
particularly vulnerable, then we’d ask them to check they’re

“We’re expecting a busy weekend and we’d also ask the public for
their support by remembering that 999 should only be dialled in the
event of a serious emergency. People can also get health advice
from dialling NHS 111 or by speaking to a pharmacist.”

SECAmb tips for staying safe and cool in the sun
• Stay in the shade or indoors. The sun is at its most
dangerous between 11am and 3pm. Find shade under umbrellas, trees
or canopies. It is worth remembering that the temperature is at
least a couple of degrees cooler if you are by water.
• Use sunscreen and cover up. If you can’t avoid being out in
the sun apply sunscreen (factor 15+) and wear a t-shirt, hat and
• Increase your fluid intake. The normal recommended daily
intake of fluid is 2.5 litres or 8 glasses per day. In extreme heat
experts recommend you drink more and include a range of different
• Keep your home cool. Keep windows closed while the room is
cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside
rises, and at night for ventilation.
• Look after the elderly. Older people are more prone to the
effects of heat. If you have older relatives or neighbours you can
help simply by checking on them and reminding them to drink plenty
and often. Also help them to keep their house as cool as possible,
using a fan if necessary.
• Protect children. Keep a close eye on young children, who
need plenty of fluids. A good way to check if they are drinking
enough is that they are passing urine regularly and that it is not
too dark. You should check nappies regularly. Babies and the very
young must be kept out of the sun.
• Avoid excessive physical exertion. If you are taking
physical exercise you need to drink half a litre of fluid at least
half an hour beforehand and continue to replenish your fluids after
• Know the perils of outdoor eating. Warm summer weather is a
perfect breeding ground for bacteria so it is especially important
to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until you are ready to
eat them. When barbecuing always make sure you cook meat until it
is piping hot, none of it is pink and all juices run clear.

 – Be sensible with alcohol. Hot weather speeds up the
effects of alcohol so extra care should be taken when drinking.
Alcohol will lead to dehydration so make sure that you alternate
alcoholic drinks with water or fruit juice.

• Keep cool at work. The office is often the coolest place
to be in a heat wave. Ask your boss for air-conditioning or fans
and open windows where possible. Keep windows shaded with blinds
and if possible move your working position out of direct sunlight.
Have plenty of breaks during the day to get cold drinks and cool

Remember, heat stroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly and
rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone is
suffering from heat stroke call 999 immediately.

While waiting for the ambulance you should follow the
instructions given to you by the ambulance call taker. The
following can also help someone suffering from heat stroke:

·         If possible,
move the person somewhere cooler.
·         Increase
ventilation by opening windows or using a fan.
·         Cool the patient
down as quickly as possibly by loosening their clothes, sprinkling
them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet.
·         If they are
conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink.
·         Do not give them
aspirin or paracetamol.

If you need medical advice or treatment you can also talk to a
pharmacist, call NHS 111, visit your GP surgery or Minor Injury
When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following
you must dial 999 for an ambulance:
• heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15
• sudden unexplained shortness of breath
• heavy bleeding
• unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained
• traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if: 
• you think the patient’s illness or injury is
• you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even
life-threatening on the way to the hospital
• moving the patient/s without skilled people could cause
further injury
• the patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance
service and its personnel