Keeping Safe in Hot Weather
The definition of a heatwave in Scotland is when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with maximum temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.
While the weather continues to change and the summers become hotter, it is important for people living in Dumfries and Galloway to plan and protect ourselves from potential harm the increasing heat may cause.
This webpage is designed as a one-stop shop for householders affected by hot weather. It signposts to help and support available.
During heatwaves, we will also share our partners' posts on our social media (e.g., NHS, police, fire service) offering helpful advice and information.
Who is most at risk?
A heatwave can affect anyone; those most at risk are:
- Older people (over-70s in particular)
- People who have a serious or long-term illness including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease or some mental health conditions
- Those who may find it hard to keep cool - babies and the very young, the bed-bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions, or people with Alzheimer's disease.
- People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places - those who live in a top-floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside
What are the main risks posed by a heatwave?
- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
What are the best tips for keeping cool in hot weather?
- Stay hydrated
- Keep out of the heat if you can, or try where possible to stay in the shade when outside especially between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest
- Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day
- Wear sun cream if outdoors to protect your skin, loose clothing and a hat
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
- Keep your living space cool. Close windows/curtains during the day and open them at night when the temperature is lower
If you become ill due to extreme weather, please contact your GP or call 101. If you or someone you are concerned about becomes seriously ill, then contact 999 immediately.
Where can I get more advice?
Advice can be found on the Ready Scotland website: Keep yourself safe in hot weather (ready.scot)
And you can find further information at: Heatwave: how to cope in hot weather - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Information on private water supplies and help made available by Dumfries and Galloway Council can be found here: Private water supplies - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
SEPA is responsible for the forecast, monitoring and report of the situation facing Scotland's water resources and produces a regular report during the summer months. Reports are published weekly.[DS1]
You can find more information on support and advice with water scarcity at: Water scarcity | Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
And if you're looking for more advice on water scarcity, read it here: Adapting to climate change and water scarcity - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
Although it may be tempting to visit the region's many lochs, rivers and streams during a heatwave, this can be very dangerous.
The key advice from Water Safety Scotland is to only enter water when you can be sure it is safe - follow the water safety code and learn the advice given in Water Safety Scotland's webpage on cold water shock
Cold water shock (CWS) is an involuntary response to the body being suddenly or unexpectedly immersed into water which has a temperature of less than 15 degrees Celsius.
Blue-green algae can occur in lochs, ponds and resevoirs in the region to find out more visit: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/blue-green-algae/ If you detect blue-green algae please report to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further advice about how you may stay safe in times of extreme heat when on or near water can be found on the Water Safety Scotland website: Heatwaves | Water Safety Scotland advice on summer safety and on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website: Scottish Fire & Rescue Service: Water Safety (firescotland.gov.uk)
Wildfires are very dangerous, spread fast, change direction - and jump to and from other areas, potentially threatening life.
If you see a fire, however small, call 999 immediately.
A wildfire may seem like a remote possibility, but it pays to be prepared. Follow safety advice to keep you, your home and your family safe from wildfires by reading information found here Scottish Fire & Rescue Service: Wildfires (firescotland.gov.uk) and Wildfire prevention - Forestry and Land Scotland
If you need support with anything to do with water scarcity, please contact Dumfries and Galloway Council by calling 030 33 33 3000 or email EnvironmentalHealth@dumgal.gov.uk