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Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council joint heatwave plan

Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response


The Heatwave plan outlines the management structures and procedures used my Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils during a heatwave.

This plan has been produced by Portsmouth and Southampton City Council working jointly on behalf of both Portsmouth and Southampton City Council.

Portsmouth City Council * – Information specific to Portsmouth City Council ONLY

Southampton City Council + – Information specific to Southampton City Council ONLY

Information that is relevant to both Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils has not been given a symbol.

Distribution List

This plan is stored on the Portsmouth and Southampton City Council pages on ResilienceDirect (Secure website). Appropriate access will be given to responding agencies.

The original document is held by Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils’ Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Team (EPRR).

This Plan will be made available to appropriate members of staff at Portsmouth and Southampton City Council (PCC and SCC) and external stakeholders.


0.1May 2019Annual ReviewJazmine Poulter
1.0June 2019Finalised 2019 issueIan Collins
2.0May 2020Annual Review and updateWilliam White
3.0June 2021Annual Review and updateDonna Pike

Plan Ownership

Prepared for: Portsmouth and Southampton City Council

Plan Author: Donna Pike, EPRRA

Plan Owner: Ian Collins, Head of Emergency Planning & Business Resilience

Plan Reviewed By: Jazmine Poulter, EPRRO

Plan Authorised By: Ian Collins, Head of Emergency Planning & Business Resilience

Department Responsible: PCC & SCC Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Team

Implementation Date: June 2021

Review Date: June 2022

Protective Marking

This Plan has been given the protective marking of OFFICIAL

This Plan will be made available to staff who require access to it as part of their role. Where possible stakeholders will be given access to the plan through ResilienceDirect, in other cases it will be sent electronically to those agencies in the distribution list. Upon receipt of the plan, individual agencies become fully responsible for document security and dissemination within their own organisation as per its classification.


JEPDOJoint Emergency Planning Duty Officer
EPRR TeamEmergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Team
PCCPortsmouth City Council
SCCSouthampton City Council

1.0 Introduction

Heatwave Planning Alerts Including Declaration of Heatwave

A Heat-Health alert system operates from 1 June to 15 September, based on Met Office forecasts and data. During this period, the Met Office may forecast heatwaves, as defined by forecasts of day and night-time temperatures and their duration. Should thresholds for an alert be reached outside of this period, an extraordinary heat-health alert may be issued. The Heat-Health Watch system comprises of five main levels (Levels 0 – 4).

Level 0Long term planning - all year
Level 1Heatwave and summer preparedness programme 1st June-15th September
Level 2Heatwave is forecast - Alert and readiness 60% risk of heatwave in the next 2-3 days
Level 3Heatwave action Temperature reached in one or more Met Office Nation Severe Weather Warning Services regions
Level 4Major incident - emergency response Centeral Government will declare a Level 4 alert in the event of severe or prolonged heatwave affecting sectors other than health

1.1 Level 0: Summer preparedness – long term planning

Year round joint working to reduce the impact of climate change and ensure maximum adaptation to reduce harm from heatwaves. This involves influencing urban planning to keep housing, workplaces, transport systems and the built environment cool and energy efficient.

1.2 Level 1: Summer preparedness

Summer preparedness runs from 1 June to 15 September when a Level 1 alert will be issued. The heatwave plan will remain at Level 1 unless a higher alert is triggered. During the summer months, social and healthcare services need to ensure that awareness and background preparedness are maintained by implementing the measures set out in the heatwave plan

1.3 Level 2: Heatwave is forecast – alert & readiness

This is triggered as soon as the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60 per cent chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days to have significant effects on health. These vary from region to region, but the average threshold temperature is 30ºC during the day and 15ºC overnight. This forecast will normally be issued 2–3 days before the event is expected. As death rates rise soon after temperature increases, with many deaths occurring in the first two days, this is an important stage to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.

1.4 Level 3: Heatwave action

This is triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms that threshold temperatures have been reached in one or more regions. This stage requires specific actions targeted at high risk groups.

1.5 Level 4: National emergency

This is reached when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside health and social care, such as power or water shortages, and/or where the integrity of health and social care systems is threatened. At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups and will require a multi-sector response at national and regional levels.

The decision to go to a Level 4 is made at national level and will be taken in light of a cross-government assessment of the weather conditions, co-ordinated by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (Cabinet Office).

2.0 Notification – Escalation and Stand Down

The Met Office provides email alerts about the risk of heatwave identifying the particular level forecast. The following will receive the alerts within Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils

  • Portsmouth and Southampton Joint Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Team
  • Portsmouth and Southampton Public Health Protection team members
  • Individual departments who have previously signed up to alerts (to sign up for alerts services can email

2.1 Cascading Alerts

It’s the responsibility of the Joint Emergency Planning Duty Officer (JEPDO) to cascade alerts received by email to the following teams in both Portsmouth and Southampton (See Email Templates on ResilienceDirect)

  • Council Management Teams
  • Nominated team members from each local authority department
  • Public Health team
  • Health Protection Forum members

A distribution list has been set up in collaboration with team members from across each council. The master copy is held by PCC and SCC EPRR Team and will be updated as required.

2.2 Stand Down

When an alert level is reduced and returns to Level 1 the Met Office will notify PCC and SCC EPRR Team. The JEPDO will cascade this information via the cascade system outlined in Section 2.1

2.3 Considerations

When this plan has been activated considerations need to be made to ensure Portsmouth and Southampton have appropriate measures in place to ensure computer server rooms are protected and have backup systems for air-conditioning.

3.0 Public Health England Heat Wave Plan

This plan is written in conjunction with the Public Health England Heatwave Plan and therefore should be referred to for detailed guidance and actions. It is available at the following website:

3.1 Supporting Documentation and Advice / Actions for local authority services

The Local Authorities should consider a number of actions detailed action information can be found by clicking on the following links:

Advice for health and social care professionals

Advice for care home managers and staff

Advice for looking after school children during heatwaves

Looking after children and those in early years settings during heatwaves: guidance for teachers and professionals

Beat the Heat: Keep cool at Home – checklist

Public Health England training slide set

(Designed for those across the health and social care system and in the voluntary sector with a role in planning for, or responding to, a heatwave event in England.)

3.2 Covid specification information 

Beat the Heat: Coping with Heat and Covid-19 (Poster)

Beat the Head: Coping with Heat and Covid 19 (Leaflet)

Beat the Heat: Keep residents safe and well during Covid-19

Health Heat risks and Covid 19: Actions to prevent Harm