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LGA - The heatwave arrives – Precautions called for by councils as the nation bakes

As newspaper editors dust off their heatwave cliches, councils are calling for health precautions as temperatures rise.

Health precautions should be taken to combat a heatwave which is set to grip the country in the coming week, councils say.

With temperatures set to soar to up to 30 degrees celsius in some parts of the country, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents almost 400 councils, warns that the elderly and those suffering from respiratory problems are most at risk.

Social workers, community wardens and maintenance staff are all going on high alert, identifying and looking out for those who might be struggling.

Councils are urging residents to keep an eye on vulnerable or elderly family and friends and help save lives as the nation heads outside to bask in the sunshine. Following the 2003 heatwave, in which more than 2,000 people in England died due to the extreme temperatures, the country has developed an annual heatwave plan with local authorities, health professionals and the emergency services working together to help keep people safe.

Council staff will be making calls and extra visits to vulnerable people as required but local authorities are urging people to call them if they believe anyone needing help is being missed out.

Local authorities are involved in year-round preparations for exceptional weather conditions, making sure local areas are as able to cope with high temperatures, as they are with freezing temperatures or flooding.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said:

"The hundreds of deaths caused by extreme heat each year are avoidable. Councils are determined to reduce the toll as much as possible, but they cannot do it alone. Local people can make a massive difference by helping us identify other residents who might need some advice or practical help.

"We know that effective action, taken early, can reduce the health impacts of exposure to excessive heat. Most of these are simple preventive measures which to be effective, need to be planned in advance of a heatwave.

"No-one is immune to the power of the sun. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day and using sunscreen are sensible precautions we all need to remember. Looking around at how our older neighbours are coping as we walk our children to school or head to the beach for a day out takes no effort, but could be crucial in making sure they are also able to make the best of the summer."

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