London (soon to be the rest of England) is under a bit of a heatwave at the moment, temperatures of 30C have lead to all sorts of announcments. The Met Office have raised the Heat-Health level to 3.  The next level up is a National Emergency

The advice given is as follows –

Stay out of the sun. Keep your home as cool as possible — shutting windows during the day may help. Open them when it is cooler at night. Keep drinking fluids. If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do.

When they suggest drinking plenty of fluids I don’t suppose that they mean beer.  So please stop stripping your top off, drinking nothing but pints of Stella and then thinking it's amusing to run out laughing in front of ambulances travelling on blue lights. It's not big, it's not clever and one day my eyes will be elsewhere and it'll be all I can do to wave at you as you bounce off my windscreen…

I’ve also seen news that over the past few days the number of calls described as ‘Collapse’ are up 48%, while calls to asthmatics are up by 13%*

Calls are up all over London – while we’ve gotten used to dealing with 3,800 calls a day, our rate is now around 4,800.  With no extra ambulances you can imagine how busy we are.  Remind me to tell you how we are expected to work without a break sometime.

In my opinion it’s the major failing of the ambulance service – we keep seeing these rise in call rates, yet I’ve never heard of there being more ambulances put on the road.  We need more ambulances and we need them now – unfortunately that isn’t the way our policy makers see things, something that I’ll be posting about in a short while.

*Actual numbers may be slightly inaccurate as I’m remembering them from our work intranet, which I’ve forgottten this months password to.

18 thoughts on “Heatwave”

  1. Not just that, although it plays its part.I lived in California for a while and most offices had air conditioning, and many homes too. On the continent people have siestas and architecture is designed to keep cool.

    In this country it's not something we have had to deal with until quite recently. So it's not surprising that it's causing problems.

    Personally, I vote for siestas 😉 Remember – mad dogs and englishmen?

  2. I might be being stupid because I've sweated most of my bodyweight in water but the comments are still a little weird – it said I had to log in, so I went to the blogware.com page and signed in, and I've come back and all I could click was “Reply” to batsgirl's post. And now it wants me to login again below.Anyway just wanted to say the recommendation to keep the windows shut during the day seems really silly. Surely it's best to try to get air flowing through the house as much as possible? With the window shut it would be stifling, you would have no air.

  3. I wish someone would tell my five year olds school the reccomendations, two days in a row she has come home on the verge of sunstroke as they INSIST the children have to go into the playground where there is no shade during break times, they manage to keep them entertained on rainy days, surley a few days inside while it is so hot will not harm them!

  4. Do you really need more ambulances, though, to deal with the jobs that actually need ambulances? The impression I've got from this blog is that what you need is to not have your time wasted by idiots.

  5. what would the situation be if you were to send your kid in with a bottle of sunscreen and a hat and a note INSISTING that if they must send him/her outside, they at least take due precautions?I have to admit that if I was a primary school teacher I wouldn't fancy the riot on my hands if I told a bunch of kids they couldn't go play in the sunshine. They're horrific enough when they have to stay in cos of the rain.

  6. It astonishes me how people in other countries (e.g. Greece, France, Italy, Spain) survive at this time of year… or those in Norway, Sweden and Canada survive in the winter. If what the UK weather forecasters would have us believe is true, no human could possibly stand a chance of surviving such extremes of temperature…

  7. I was talking to an Australian colleague today and she thinks it's hilarious. It's not hot in Oz until it hits 40 degrees, and that's barely considered hot.I worked out that the ideal weather for the average briton is 16 degrees, overcast with a light drizzle.

  8. I've found the best thing to do is keep the windows and curtains closed during the day, and then as it starts to cool in the evening throw them all open. Basically try to stop the sun heating the house up, and don't let the hot air in, and then at night get a fresh load of cool air! So I think the advise is probably pretty sound. Of course, if you're using the oven then you might think differently 😉

  9. Yep, I think it's pretty much standard practise in hot countries. Especially if you get direct sunlight through you windows.Think about greenhouses, your windows do pretty much the same thing they do.

  10. I do send her in with a large bottle of water, hat and slap on the sunscreen before she goes in, she has to reapply it herself during the day…….hello she is just 5!!!I really do appreciate how horrible they can be having worked as a Nursery Nurse for 12 years but it does seem a large number of them are asking to go inside as they are feeling hot and unwell…….bless! It is difficult I know but they really do need to encourage them to drink and maybe insist as strongly they wear the hats and even maybe not be so politically correct and help them put on the sunscreen!

    We are just SO British aren't we!!!!!!!!

  11. It's a whole other thing, the heat here in Australia (though 40C = pretty damn hot, really). Our houses are built to cope with it, they let the heat out and let the air move through freely.What they don't do is hold the heat well for the six weeks that it's bloody freezing in winter.

    When I was in England earlier this year, I couldn't get over how most of the windows in the houses I stayed in didn't even open all the way. It'd have to be pretty hard to cool a house without aircon or decent airflow from outside.

  12. It comes down to acclimatisation.For instance, as a kid I was used to paddling in the North Sea. Then we went on holiday to see some relatives in Germany and there was a pool fed from a glacier and my sister and I were splashing in it and locals were going “don't they find that far too cold?!?”

    My body is acclimatised to deal with a “comfortable room temperature” of about 20 degrees. If I had grown up in a country where the normal room temperature was 40 degrees, it might be a different story…

  13. I just can't cope with the hot weather; I have hardly been out in the heat and I've got aircon in my car, and I feel dreadful no matter how much I drink and I am eating properly; I was told today by my doctor that I've got heat exhaustion (not surprisign as I've had proper heatstroke a number of times and I always wear a hat in the sun). So I think that there must just be a lot of people who aren't built for it cos they are not exposed to heat that much.Claire

  14. I discussed the hot weather in Europe two years ago on the internet and the vast majority of those posting ignore the fact that Australia (the example you gave, Pinklefish) and the USA are streaks ahead in providing air conditioning in homes, workplaces and public transport. Almost all of the thousands of people who died in Europe in 2004 were those who were too old or poor to live in a/c homes or to be on holiday outside the cities.I'd estimate that 95% of homes here do not have a/c. My workplace was only built in 1993 (and cost 26 million!) and none of it has a/c. London's Evening Standard has an article this evening about the high temperatures on the tube and in the buses. I'm a rabid Routemaster lover and, riding the hateful new 38 cattle wagon, I long for the airy days of summer in previous years.

    (I typed this last night and saved it until my registration became active. Since then, some commenters have made similar points, but it's an important consideration – that we are not equipped to cope with what is still 'unexpected' – that I thought I'd still post my reply).

  15. Yeah, that's what I thought, they all have A/C. My colleague said that this isn't the case, at least in the part of oz she comes from. Most of the homes etc do not have A/C but are simply built to keep cool, as some other people have mentioned. She says that otherwise you're generally expected to just deal with it and get on with things when it's really hot.

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