Keeping safe this summer

Summer has arrived! Here's some useful information on keeping yourself and others safe in West Sussex.

Experience West Sussex

There’s so much to see and do in West Sussex, especially in the summer - it’s the perfect place to unwind, explore and have new adventures.

Getting out and about to enjoy our fantastic county is one of the best ways to embrace the summer. From walking on the South Downs and picnics on the beach to eating out and having fun with friends and family, there are so many ways to enjoy the summer in West Sussex

For ideas and inspiration about fun things to do in West Sussex visit our Experience West Sussex website.

Public Health

Top tips for keeping healthy this summer!

During long weekends and bank holidays, please plan ahead and be mindful when using our healthcare services. Check if you need repeat prescriptions for any regular medication, stock up on self-care essentials, keep a first aid kit on hand and check what urgent care services will be open near you.

Only call 999 in an emergency. Call 111 if you have a health-related issue and you are not sure what to do or where to go. For more information on getting the right care visit: Get the right care.

The West Sussex Wellbeing website has further advice and information about staying healthy .

When having a barbecue, cater carefully by washing your hands regularly and cooking food thoroughly. Further information is available from the Food Standards Agency.

As you get ready for summer, it’s important to look after your sexual health. There have been rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across the UK, including in West Sussex, as well as in some other parts of Europe. So whether on holiday or at home, protect your sexual health.

If you are 24 or under you can order free condoms online.

You can order home testing kits for the most common STIs, which are free and easy to use.

If you think you may be at risk from acquiring HIV, PrEP is extremely effective at preventing HIV and is available free from our sexual health clinics.

To find out more about sexual health services in West Sussex visit: Sexual Health West Sussex.

Hot weather

Top tips for staying safe in the sun this summer!

Cover Up: while out enjoying the lovely sunny weather, try and stay in the shade during peak times. Consider wearing a hat and have a bottle of sunscreen to hand to protect yourself and those close to you. There’s more advice on enjoying the sun safely from Cancer Research UK.

Stay hydrated: by taking drinking water with you. Download the free Refill app to find local refill stations near you. For more information on keeping hydrated visit: Hydration Information.

Keep cool at home: Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to keep cool. Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it's safe, open them for ventilation when it's cooler. Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter). 

Go easy on the alcohol: if you’re drinking alcohol, a good way to pace yourself, and avoid dehydration, is to alternate with water or soft drinks. There are also lots of fantastic alcohol-free alternatives available, in case you want to celebrate with a special drink and avoid the after-effects of alcohol. For information and advice about alcohol, visit: West Sussex Wellbeing.

Check on others: during hot weather or a heat wave, take time to check on anyone you know who might be at risk. This includes the very young, the elderly and those who are seriously ill, as they are particularly at risk of health problems when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse.

Look after yourself: by keeping yourself cool with plenty of water, wearing light clothing, keeping your environment cool and staying out of the heat at peak times between around 11am and 3pm. Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.

Plan ahead: Make sure you have enough supplies such as food, water, and any medications you need.

Avoid closed spaces: vehicles can get very hot, so don’t leave pets inside. 

Pets: Don't forget about the animals in your care and view the top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather by visiting the RSPCA website.

Advice: take a look at the government’s website Hot Weather & Health for guidance, advice & useful resources on how to beat the heat, visit: Beat the heat or download this poster.

Heatwaves: for advice on heatwaves and how to cope in hot weather visit the NHS website

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke: for advice on preventing and recognising the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke visit the NHS website.

Heat-health Alerts: consider using the Met Office’s Heat-health Alert website (for health and social care professionals). The service acts as an early warning system about periods of high temperatures, which may affect the health of the public. This is particularly helpful for those caring for vulnerable people.

Re-register: to ensure you receive Heat-health Alerts from the UKHSA and Met Office, a new system started operating in summer 2023. If you received alerts prior to this, you must re-register to continue receiving them. To register for the Weather-Health Alerting system, which covers both Heat and Cold alerts, please visit the Weather-Health Alerting system registration form.

Check air quality: during periods of hot weather the air quality is affected causing difficulties for those with respiratory conditions. Register for Sussex-air quality alerts to receive free messages via your mobile phone, voicemails to your home telephone, email, or mobile app, informing you that poor air quality is predicted in your area of Sussex.

Use water sensibly: periods of hot weather can put a strain on water providers to meet the demand residents need. During these periods of hot weather we suggest only using water that’s needed for essentials - things like drinking, cooking, and hygiene. Reducing our water usage can help to lower carbon emissions and protect our natural environment and water supply. To find out more visit our Using less water pages.

Travelling abroad: If you're going on holiday abroad this summer, visit the UK Health Security Agency website for some helpful tips.

Fire safety

Fire safety

Wildfires start due to carelessness, for example people discarding lit cigarettes or leaving campfires or barbecues unattended.

Deliberate setting of wildfires is illegal and is a criminal offence. Carefully planned and controlled fires (which usually take place between September and April) can be used by farmers to improve their land for grazing.

Follow these tips to reduce the risks of wildfires:

  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they can ruin whole fields of crops.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands – sunlight shining through glass can start fires - take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
  • Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended. More information can be found on West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s website.
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside.

Permission for outdoor fires:

A fire in the open can easily get out of control. You should always check with the landowner first whether fires and barbecues are permitted on their land and only light fires in safe, designated areas. Children should always be kept away from an open fire.

What to do if you see a fire in the countryside:

  • Report it immediately to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service by calling 999. If you are deaf or have a speech impairment, send an emergency SMS.
  • Do not try to tackle the fire if it can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible, and preferably move downhill as a fire will spread more quickly uphill.

Beach safety

Beach and water safety

It’s great to spend a day out at the coast or seaside. But sea and coastal conditions can change fast and you can get into trouble before you know it.

To help you enjoy the coast safely, make sure you check weather and tides before you set out, wear appropriate clothing and footwear and be aware of the risks. For further information on coastal safety, please visit the campaign for Coastal Safety.

If you get into trouble or you see someone else in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard or, if you are deaf or have a speech impairment, send an emergency SMS.

Do you know the Water Safety Code? If not, take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the code to ensure that you keep yourself safe, whether you are in, on or beside the water this summer.

For helpful advice on family water safety, whether at home or when out, visit the Royal Lifesaving Society.

Stay safe & alert

Hate crime and hate incidents

It’s important you're aware of how to spot the signs of hate crime and hate incidents in our communities, which tend to increase during the summer months.

Hate incidents and crimes can take many forms, they occur when a person is subjected to hostility or prejudice by another person or group because of their real or perceived race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, and/or transgender identity. Please be vigilant when out and about and report any incidents online, by emailing or by calling 0808 168 9274 (Freephone).

If someone believes they or another person has been targeted due to any of the above, this is enough to make a report. In an emergency, call 999.

Eating out and food allergies

Trading Standards is reminding food businesses in West Sussex to continue providing allergy information for consumers eating out during the summer months. Since 2014 all food outlets must either explain to customers, or supply, allergy information about the foods they sell. The change was intended to make it safer for people with food allergies, intolerances, and hypersensitivities to eat out.

The Food Standards Agency provide online food allergy training and e-learning resources for food businesses, where they can learn more about managing allergens in a kitchen and how to cater for allergen information requirements. Anyone who has experienced problems getting correct allergen information from any food outlet can report the matter to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 (Freephone). You can also report other food and drink issues, including fish or animal species substitution and false claims about place of origin.

Tick awareness

As you enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer, be aware of ticks.

Ticks can transmit microbes that cause infections such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. You could be exposed to ticks whenever you spend time outdoors, such as when you’re in your garden or the local park. The highest risk of exposure however is in grassy and wooded areas.

Ticks can be active all year round, but they are most active in the months of April to July, and sometimes later in the autumn.

Although not all tick bites result in disease, it is important to know how to avoid them and to act if you or your family does get bitten.

Read the UKHSA blog to find out more information on ticks, or Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis, including tips on how to stay safe, or view this A5 leaflet about ticks.

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