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.

Remember: 

  • 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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