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Preparing for Hot Weather

Advice to help you plan ahead during the warmer months.

Sunlight is essential for our health and wellbeing, however, excessive exposure to high temperatures during summer can be detrimental to our health and can even be fatal. Effective actions like those listed below can reduce the impacts of exposure to excessive heat.

On this page:

Tips for coping in hot weather

During a period of hot weather you can:

  • shut windows and pull down shades or curtains when it is hot outside; you can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler
  • turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat
  • identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool
  • plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need
  • if you have a health condition, keep medicines below 25 degrees Celsius or in the refrigerator
  • stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day)
  • look out for others around you, especially older people, young children and babies and those with serious long-term illnesses; also take extra care if you are pregnant
  • keep intense physical exercise to a minimum between 11am and 3pm if you are working or exercising outdoors
  • have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water
  • drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice; avoid alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar
  • look out for signs of dehydration - you can find out more about dehydration on the NHS website
  • listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media and visit the MetOffice website for the latest forecasts
  • wear loose, cool clothing, a hat and UV sunglasses (preferably wraparound) to reduce UV exposure to the eyes; walk in the shade if you go outdoors
  • use sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVB and at least four-star UVA protection - visit the NHS Choices website for more information about sunscreen and sun safety
  • never leave anyone in a closed parked vehicle, especially babies, young children or animals

For more tips, you can check the information on how to cope in hot weather from NHS Choices, or read advise on how to beat the heat. You can also find out more about heat exhaustion and heat stroke on the NHS website.

If you're worried about someone you know, you can call 111 (the non-emergency number) or visit your local chemist for advice.


During hot weather, dehydration is a common and serious risk. It's important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts. Drink plenty of water.

During Ramadan, if you or someone you know, starts to feel unwell, disoriented or confused, or collapses or faints, stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid.

This is especially important for older adults, those with:

  • with controlled medical conditions such as low or high blood pressure, diabetes
  • are receiving dialysis treatment

The Muslim Council of Britain has confirmed that breaking fast in such conditions is allowable under Islamic law. Also, make sure to check on others in the community who may be at greater risk. Keep an eye on children to make sure they are having a safe and healthy Ramadan.


Children's safety

During hot weather, it is important to be especially aware of water and window safety for babies and children. See more information about water safety for children and accidents to children from RoSPA - The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Watch the video below about the risks of leaving babies and infants unsupervised near water or open windows:

You can also find out more about keeping your baby safe in the sun on the NHS website.


Water Safety

Open water swimming is a great way to exercise and cool down in the summer heat, but you must be aware of potential dangers and swim safely.

You should only ever swim in dedicated swimming areas.

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service provides information about water safety, cold water shock and what to do in an emergency.


Risk of Wildfires

Grassland can be extremely dry in hotweather and even a small cigarette but can destroy whole fields of crops.

Please do not leave bottles or glass in woodland - sunlight shining through glass can start a fire and cause an unnecessary strain on our fire services. Please take you litter home and recycle where you can.

You can find further information and advice on wildfires on the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.


Air quality

Heatwaves can sometimes be accompanied by smogs which can lead to high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the air. Pollutants can also react with sunlight and increase ozone levels.

Adults and children with heart or lung problems are at greater risk of symptoms from changes to the air quality. Follow your doctor's usual advice about exercising and managing your condition. Very sensitive individuals may experience health effects even on low air pollution days.

Information on the latest pollution levels, air quality forecasts, recommended actions and health advice is available from the Defra UK-Air website or by calling 0800 55 66 77.


Utilities: priority services

Heatwaves may affect services, such as power and water supplies. Some vulnerable people can be registered as 'priority users' so that companies will prioritise keeping their services connected, or offer support, if the service is interrupted for any reason.

To find out more about joining the priority services register, visit our creating an emergency plan page.


Impact on council services

School Closures

Occasionally high temperatures will make it necessary to close schools. Look out for information directly from your child's school, and keep an eye on our school closures page for the latest information.

Bin collections

Hot weather means we sometimes have to cancel some bin collections when it's unsafe for the collection crews to work. We may also start collections earlier in the day when it is cooler - in which case we will ask for bins to be put out earlier than usual. You can find out if our bin collections are running as usual on our Waste Collection Updates page. If you think we might have missed your bin collection please check this page first before using our Missed Bin Collection service.

If we need to close our Household Waste Recycling Centres we will contact anyone with a booking directly.

Report a problem 

Sometimes the hot weather can cause problems which you need to tell us about - such as road surfaces which may be affected by high temperatures. You can report problems on a road or pavement, or in parks or countryside, here.


Further information

See here for The Heatwave Plan for England on the GOV.UK website

If you would like a copy of the Public Health and Wellbeing Icon for pdf Warm Weather Messages leaflet [1MB] , please contact the Public Health and Wellbeing Team.

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