*Sunset at Ballyalla Lake. Photograph: Michael O’Brien
CLARE is experiencing heatwave conditions with highs of 27°C forecasted up until Sunday.
Mét Éireann forecasts that Clare will experience daytime temperatures that will “widely reach the mid to high twenties” with it “remaining uncomfortably warm overnight too”. Peak temperatures are expected to hit on Friday and Saturday. The county is under a status yellow, high temperature warning.
Warnings have been issued that the high temperatures could result in heat stress among the elderly and other vulnerable groups, a high solar UV index and the possibly of water related incidents from the beach rush which may ensue.
In a statement, the Road Safety Authority has appealed to drivers to be aware of the “dangers posed by sun glare” and requesting that drivers wear sunglasses, clean their windscreens, and are extra vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists.
Guidelines have been issued to local authorities this week with the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team (CMT) liaising with Met Éireann.
Irish Coast Guard
Throughout this holiday period, the Irish Coast Guard is advising people to check out the ‘Be Summer Ready’ information on: gov.ie/summerready – safety on the water.
• The Coast Guard reminds everyone to be mindful of forecasted high temperatures and follow ‘Be Summer Ready’ advice on gov.ie – safety on the water
• Be Alert to Water Safety. Only swim in lifeguard protected beaches or beaches with which you are familiar. Never swim alone and ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague
• No Lifejacket – No Excuse. Always wear a fully serviced lifejacket/PFD if you are engaging in any form of boating/canoeing or coastal fishing. See gov.ie – safety on the water
• Stay Afloat – Stay in Touch. If you are proceeding on open water always carry a means of communication, preferably a VHF radio and PLB. Don’t simply rely on a mobile phone on its own
• Leave inflatables at home, inflatable toys are not safe for persons to float upon in open water and never be tempted to swim out after a floating toy. Always supervise children closely to ensure that they never use inflatable toys in open water
• Remember just because an open water area looks calm and peaceful it does not mean that is safe for swimming
• If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or think they are in trouble, use Marine VHF Ch 16 or Dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Water Safety Ireland
• The locations of lifeguarded waterways are available at: https://watersafety.ie/lifeguards/
• Learn how to escape a rip current: https://watersafety.ie/rip-currents/
• Never use inflatable toys in open water
• Swim within your depth so that you can stand up if necessary: https://youtu.be/K_MC6kK8vUs
Health Service Executive
The HSE has provided advice on those who are particularly vulnerable. Heatwave conditions can affect any of us, but those most at risk are:
• Babies and children
• People >65 years old
• People with underlying health conditions including problems with breathing, heart, kidneys and diabetes
• People with Alzheimer’s and dementia
• People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who work outdoors or the homeless.
How to keep cool:
• Minimise unnecessary heating – turn off central heating, electrical equipment and lights that are not needed
• Keep out the sun between 11am to 3pm – stay in the shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight
• If you have to go outdoors, protect your skin by using shade, wear clothing that covers the skin, a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen of 30+ for adults and 50+ for children
• Use natural ventilation such as open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside (e.g. at night) and where it is safe, secure and feasible to do so
• Increase air flow through buildings wherever possible
• Evaporative cooling – dampening your skin may help keep you cool
• If you are using air conditioning, make sure it is using a fresh air supply, which is important to prevent spread of Covid-19
• Electric fans need to be used with caution, as they may not be safe for higher temperatures and should not be used where a person may be incubating or a case of Covid-19.
Way to stay hydrated:
• Make sure you have enough water to drink
• An adult needs approximately 2 litres of water over 24 hours. This may be less for smaller people or those with medical conditions
• Drink more fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms. The best fluids to drink are water or oral rehydration sachets – chat to your pharmacist about how to use these safely
• Drink enough during the day so your urine is a pale clear colour.
Carers – making sure someone drinks enough:
The person you are caring for may not have a sense of how much they’re drinking. To help them:
• Make sure they drink during mealtimes
• Make drinking a social thing, like ‘having a cup of tea’
• Offer them food with a high water content – for example, ice cream or jellies, or fruits like melon.
When to get medical help:
Contact your GP or the ED if you are unwell and especially if you are showing signs of serious dehydration that need urgent care:
• Are confused and disorientated
• Feel very dizzy
• Have not peed all day
• Feel like your heart is beating fast
• Have fits (seizures)
• Are caring for someone who is drowsy or difficult to wake.
These can be signs of serious dehydration that need urgent treatment.
Be Prepared, Be Sun Smart
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, yet it is largely preventable by protecting skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Be prepared. Follow the Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s:
• Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared T-shirts
• Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen: Apply sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and is water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade
• Slap on a wide-brimmed hat. Protect your face, ears and neck
• Seek shade: Especially if outdoors between 11am to 3pm. Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight
• Slide on sunglasses.
Don’t forget: If you work outdoors follow the ‘Be Sun Smart’ advice.
• Never leave children or pets in a car.
Department of Agriculture
Members of the public and visitors to recreational areas should co-operate with all requests regarding fire safety, obey all relevant bye-laws and be considerate in parking vehicles so as not to impede access by emergency vehicles.
Where fire outbreaks occur at or near recreational areas the following actions should be taken by visitors in the interests of safety:
• Do not light fires in and around forests or open land
• Do not attempt to intervene or fight fires under any circumstances
• Gather all family/group members and move to a safe fuel-free location such as a car park, upwind of the fire
• Telephone Fire Services via 999 or 112 and report the fire and its location
• Evacuate if instructed to do so, and cooperate with all Emergency Service Instructions.
For fire danger notices please refer to: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/01773-fire-management/#fire-danger-notices
Updated fire weather information can be found at: https://www.met.ie/forecasts/farming/graphs/fire-weather-index