Heatwave: level two alert

The Met Office raises a level two alert if a heatwave is imminent. This means there is a high chance that temperatures over the next few days could pose significant health risks. Read tips on how to cope in hot weather.

High temperatures can be dangerous, especially for:

  • the elderly 
  • the very young 
  • people with chronic or long-term medical conditions

In a level two alert, you don’t need to take immediate action. If the level of alert is raised, more information will be issued (see Heatwave: level three alert).

If a level two alert is issued, take the following steps in preparation:

  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the TV or radio.
  • If you’re planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination. 
  • Plan ahead: stock up with supplies so that you don't need to go out during extreme heat, and think about what medicines, food and non-alcoholic drinks you'll need.
  • Keep plenty of water to hand and stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house, so you can go there to keep cool.


  • Enjoy the weather, but try to stay cool.
  • Don't go outside between 11am and 3pm, as this is the hottest part of the day.
  • Spend time in the shade and avoid strenuous activity. 
  • Help others: check up on neighbours, relatives and friends who may be less able to look after themselves (for example, if they have mobility problems). 
  • Drink water or fruit juice regularly.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, and if you do drink alcohol make sure you have lots of water or other non-alcoholic drinks as well. 
  • Keep rooms cool by using shade or reflective material external to the glass; if this isn't possible, close light-coloured curtains (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Keep the windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside and, if it's safe, open windows at night when the air is cooler.
  • People with heart problems, breathing difficulties or serious illnesses may find their symptoms become worse in hot weather, so make sure you have enough medicines in stock and take extra care to keep cool.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone in hot weather, and if it isn't treated can lead to heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even fatal.

If you or anyone else feels unwell, drink water and go somewhere cool to rest. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, weakness or cramps get worse or don't go away, seek medical help. Read more about heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Care homes and hospitals

If you run a care home or hospital, this is what to do during alert level two:

  • Monitor indoor temperatures four times a day.
  • Prepare cool areas.
  • Have enough staff working to help keep residents and patients cool.
  • Identify high-risk residents/patients.
  • Make sure everyone has access to enough cold water and ice.

Page last reviewed: 03/07/2014

Next review due: 02/07/2016


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The 6 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

chris05 said on 09 July 2010

wot is that all about 30 for two days my god i live in cyprus its 36 most days in summer no heat worning no hose pipe bans wots that all about!

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Jonathan L said on 09 July 2010

Is the hottest part of the day really between 11am and 3pm. I think that is wrong. it maybe when the sun is at its strongest as such. But temperature wise the maximum temp is usually between 15:00 and 16:00 at this time of year!

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bobmorley2 said on 09 July 2010

Nobody seems to be saying anything about using an electric fan, yet I find it very effective. Fans are not expensive either. Of course, you need to be indoors and they are not in all places of work.

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health4all said on 03 July 2009

According to research I have done, I believe that black material actually conducts heat away from your body when you are in motion. This is why people wear black in the dessert and polar bears are white!

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mmmaaattt94 said on 02 July 2009

i agree, in our school we have full black uniform and keeping cool is impossible with hardly any shade and the only cool rooms locked! We have had many people all ready off with heat stroke that could of easyly been avoided if the school had better ways of keeping us cool. Does any body have any ideas on what we can do, we drink loads and stay in the little shade there is but in pe we just cant do anything we are so hot. someone help we are in desperate need!

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krystel said on 01 July 2009

i think this is good advice but how are people that are at school supposed to stay because we have to wear black uniform and have hardly any shade at lunchand brake time. also we have to engage in pe and dance that raise our temperature. i have been feeling hot all the time even though i drink 2 litres of water each day.

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