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Fire Service ask residents to look out for the vulnerable during the predicted heatwave

Date : 23 June 2020


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As temperatures are expected to climb significantly this week we would like to urge you to look out for vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours.

During this time they are potentially at greater risk this summer due to overlapping risks across Covid-19 and heat.

As many homes are prone to overheating, others may be more at risk as they stay at home because they are shielding, strongly advised to stay at home because they are ‘clinically vulnerable’ or are self-isolating.

Please remember that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is still committed to keeping residents safe, despite the current challenges with COVID-19.

During this time we have set-up the Covid-19 Support Call Scheme to assist the most vulnerable.

The Fire Service visits over 10,000 people each year to carry out fire home safety checks. This includes many visits to older people who are living alone and may be feeling vulnerable at this time. Some people may have no-one to talk to, or no-one to support them should the need arise.

A call scheme has been set up whereby Fire Service staff make contact with people who have previously received a home safety visit asking them if they are OK, and if they need any support with essential tasks or would like a regular befriending phone call. If someone needs support, the Fire Service is linking in with local community hubs and other community groups around the County.

It is also a great opportunity to find out if their smoke alarms are working. A telephone assessment call is also offered so that we can update them on safety advice and also make them aware of other services that may be available to them.

To contact the Fire Service Covid19 support call scheme ring: 01323 462299 or email: covidvolunteeringsussex@esfrs.org

Advice during a heatwave

Check in on others

Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather. You will need to do things differently this year: keep in touch remotely over the phone or using video technology, if this is not possible and you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from the hot weather, follow the guidance on providing care for others including: 

  • Wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and often thereafter, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care.

Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated - drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Keeping hydrated will be especially important for people who are unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and managing their symptoms at home.

If you need to undertake essential travel, ensure you take water with you

Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening.

Keeping the home cool

Keep your environment cool: keeping your living space cool is especially important for those who need to stay at home this summer.

Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. External shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat

Open windows at night if it feels cooler outside, although be aware of security issues - especially in ground floor rooms.

Close curtains that receive morning, or afternoon sun. 

Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat. 

Go indoors or outdoors during hot periods, whichever feels cooler. If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately - keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines. Remember, if you are required to stay at home (e.g. because you have COVID-19 infection or have been advised to self-isolate as a contact) then you should not use public spaces. 

Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars. 

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