Public Health England (PHE) have issued emergency advice and urged councils in England to implement emergency protocols amid soaring temperatures in the UK this week.

In a tweet published Tuesday morning (July 23), PHE described the high temperatures predicted for the UK this week as "extreme" and underlined the risks posed to "vulnerable people" during the heatwave in particular.

According to the Met Office's London-centric forecast, temperatures could reach 37 degrees Celsius on Thursday afternoon.

Highs exceeding 30 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday are also forecast by the Met Office.

In response to the heatwave, a spokesperson for PHE said:

"Temperatures are set to soar for most of us this week. Extreme heat poses a risk to the vulnerable.

"Local councils should use the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol to get rough sleepers off the streets in extreme weather and @Tell_StreetLink to alert support services."

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is a term used by umbrella organization and is a series of guidance and case studies for how NGOs, charities and the state can help protect those experiencing homelessness in severe weather conditions.

"People sleeping rough may find it difficult to source drinking water and sun protection, increasing risks around dehydration, sunburn and sunstroke," said guidance issued by regarding SWEP.

"Needs are likely be more urgent during daylight hours, so a different approach to SWEP may be appropriate e.g. free water and sunscreen, cool daytime spaces, and links to healthcare."

According to the SWEP advice document, the protocols should be implemented by "utilising homelessness grants and Local Authority funds, to ensure that a humanitarian response is provided," and should be "accessible to everyone."

Meanwhile, PHE offered more general advice amid the soaring temperatures on their website, highlighting the risks to "older people, young children and those with long-term conditions, including heart and lung diseases," in particular.

Owen Landeg, Principal Environmental Public Health Scientist at PHE said:

"If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.

"It’s also worth remembering to think about practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat."

Expanding on Mr Landeg's advice, a bullet point list reproduced here was also issued by the PHE:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling

The Met Office's Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen warned that temperatures could break all-time records for the UK this week, but also offered some reassurance going forward.

"Conditions will feel much more comfortable for all by the time we get to Friday," he said.