What the different levels of a heatwave are and how to protect yourself, your pets and others from the extreme heat.

The Heath-health alert service forewarns of periods of high temperatures, which may affect the health of the young, elderly, seriously ill and pets.

During the warmer months increased temperatures can be extremely dangerous. There are four stages to a heatwave as defined by the Adverse weather health plan (GOV.UK):

  • Green (preparedness): No alert will be issued as the conditions are likely to have minimal impact on health. Business as usual and summer/winter planning and preparedness activities.
  • Yellow (response): These alerts cover a range of situations. Yellow alerts may be issued during periods of heat/cold, which would be unlikely to impact most people, but could impact those who are particularly vulnerable.
  • Amber (enhanced response): An amber alert indicates that weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service, with potential for the whole population to be at risk. Non-health sectors may also start to observe impacts and a more significant coordinated response may be required.
  • Red (emergency response): A red alert indicates significant risk to life for even the healthy population.

More information on how to protect yourself, your pets and others from the extreme heat, is available below. The Heat health alert service is active from 1 June to 15 September.

  • Adverse weather health plan (GOV.UK) - The complete adverse weather and health plan aims to protect individuals and communities from the health effects of adverse weather and to build community resilience.
  • Beat the heat - Staying safe in hot weather (GOV.UK). Information on protecting yourself and others, including the vulnerable.
  • Sign up for severe weather alerts - Sign up with West Sussex County Council to receive local notifications of weather alerts.
  • Beat the heat advice and guidance (GOV.UK) - Various documents that can be downloaded and used. These documents provide information on who is at greatest risk of ill health from the heat, how to recognise when health may be affected by heat and what to do if you or someone else becomes unwell because of the heat.
  • Animal welfare advice for summer - RSPCA guidance on keeping pets safe in hot weather.
  • Heat-health alert - Met Office information available from 1 June to 15 September.
  • Heatwave - How to cope in hot weather. Guidance from NHS Choices on how to cope in hot weather.
  • UK weather forecast - Met Office weather information.
  • Workplace temperatures (GOV.UK) - Guidance on employers' responsibilities.
  • Protect your business - How to prepare a business continuity plan to help in the event of extreme weather.
Last updated:
12 February 2024
Share this
Share this

Do you have any feedback about this page?

Help us improve this website

Let us know if this page was helpful so we can make improvements. Add a star rating and leave your feedback below to show how useful you found this page.

Rate this page:
Clear star rating...
  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.