Emergency Preparedness matters: heatwave, fire, storm and flooding – summer 2018

It’s been an amazing summer 2018, one that in the UK has been compared to the previous record-setting heatwave in 1976 such as in this BBC article . No matter how you draw the comparison (and the article has some interesting graphs) one change in the intervening 42 years is certain: global average temperatures have risen and this is set to continue.

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense. They trigger serious air pollution alerts and are dangerous to human health. I’m not looking forward to this year’s figures being released but in the 2003 pan-European heatwave there were over 2000 excessive deaths in the UK alone as also mentioned in our UK preparedness awareness video. Public Health England has a useful blog on why some people suffer during heatwaves.    

Heatwaves also connect to fires and this year has been bad all around, terrifyingly illustrated in Wildfires around the world: the photos that explain the flames.

The UK also suffered massively and prevention is more than a fire service issue, research showing that informal local and national  partnerships are key.

Again, it’s about building capabilities and capacities at community and personal level and that starts with being cued in about personal fire safety preparedness. The heat eventually breaks with thunderstorms and torrential rain leading to localised flooding. This year, flooding in Europe was again common and with devastating consequences. A few examples illustrate the danger and devastation from France and my native Switzerland:

Luckily, so far the UK has gotten off relatively lightly – but then we’re only just about half way through August. The exception here is Northern Ireland. Read the next tweet slowly and let that number sink in, for it can happen anywhere with little or no warning

Thankfully, a flood relief scheme was activated for domestic properties but may not reach all affected. Small business are typically not covered either. This is why personal preparedness and insurance are so important. Most people are not adequately covered nor know enough about preparedness.And it is of course at this point I plug our emergency preparedness hub which links to lots of relevant and useful resources for you to check out. Also thankfully and as of 1st July 2018, the Met Office now issues official thunderstorm warnings, a first in its 164 year history! 

Brilliant! Early warning is key of course so make sure you are #weatheraware and tune in regularly. Another excellent way to do this is via the Met Office weather app. In addition you need a low-tech backup such as a trusty wind-up radio which should be standard kit in your emergency grab bag.  Want to know and do more? Then don’t miss this year’s September is Preparedness Month #30days30waysUK campaign.

Have a brilliant rest of August!


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One thought on “Emergency Preparedness matters: heatwave, fire, storm and flooding – summer 2018

  1. Amy

    I had no idea there was such a thing as a UK preparedness blog but now I’m glad I’ve seen this. Off to explore!

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