Safer Seasons: Summer

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


Public health and healthcare services

As we continue to live with Covid-19 in our communities, there are some simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Covid-19 health protection measures - There are many events taking place in West Sussex during the summer, and it’s understandable that people might be nervous in crowded places. Please be mindful of others and respect each other’s choices.

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

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 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.

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


Hot, warm, and sunny weather

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.

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.

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.

Vehicles can get very hot, so avoid closed spaces and don’t leave pets inside.
Take a look at the government’s website ‘Heatwave Plan for England’ for current guidance and useful resources on how to beat the heat.

Consider using the Met Office’s Heat Health Alert website. 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 those caring for vulnerable people.

During periods of hot weather the air quality is affected causing difficulties for those with respiratory conditions. Sign up to Sussex airalert 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.


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.
  • 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 and Rescue Service by calling 999.
  • 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.

Download our wildfires awareness leaflet.


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 - Beach, Coast or Sea.

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.


Stay alert and stay safe

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 during the summer months.

Hate incidents and crimes can take many forms and are not limited to discrimination on grounds of nationality or ethnicity.

They occur when a person is subjected to hostility or prejudice by another person or group because of their race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.

Please be vigilant when out and about and report any incidents online, by emailing sussexhateincidentreport@victimsupport.org.uk or by calling 0808 168 9274 (Freephone).

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

Tick this off your summer safety list!

If you are out in the West Sussex countryside this summer, watch out for a tiny arachnid that can cause a debilitating disease if it bites you.

Ticks can transmit bacteria that cause disease such as Lyme disease. Although not all tick bites result in disease, it is important to know how to avoid them and to take action if you or your family does get bitten.

Public Health England has produced a factsheet which has details about the health risks of tick bites, how to check your skin for ticks, remove a tick and how to prevent being bitten. For further advice, visit www.nhs.uk and search 'tick bites'.

Travel adaptors

In the run up to the summer holidays West Sussex Trading Standards are reminding people about the dangers of buying cheap electrical travel adaptors for use abroad.

Officers have previously identified several different potentially dangerous travel adapters, with one particular type of unsafe adapter found on sale in a number of West Sussex shops, an example can be found in this product recall, but adapters of this design have been sold under different brand names.

If you have bought a travel adaptor and have concerns about its safety, you can let Trading Standards know via their online reporting page www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSReport or by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 (Freephone).

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