Woman experiencing extreme heat

Government rolls out new health alerting service to tackle extreme heat concerns

The government has launched a new alert system to advise the public when extreme heat could damage their health.

Jointly run by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office, the new service will operate throughout the year, but with particular focus “during the core alerting season” which falls between the 1st of June and the 30th of September.

In line with the Met Office’s current practice, UKHSA will separate their alerts into four separate categories – green, yellow, amber and red.

  • Green – no alert will be issued and business as usual
  • Yellow – those who are particularly vulnerable could be at risk but the majority of people are unlikely to be impacted
  • Amber – the entire health service is likely to feel the effects as well as the wider population
  • Red – there is a significant risk for everyone and all sectors could be impacted

“Our heat-health alerting system plays a vital role in notifying professionals and the public of forecasted high temperatures that can affect the health of those most at risk,” UKHSA’s head of extreme events and health protection, Dr Agostinho Sousa, said.

The Met Office’s head of situational awareness, Will Lang, stressed that the effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK, specifically noting the recording-breaking temperature of 40.3°C experienced last summer.

“The updated health alerts will be complementary to, and run alongside our National Severe Weather Warnings, and will play a pivotal role in helping save lives, protect property and the economy as we all work to tackle adverse weather and climate change going forward,” he added.

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