Be Prepared, Take Care and Stay Safe this Winter

Healthy Suffolk logoPublic Health and NHS

Suffolk Public Health and the NHS tells us that each winter is difficult for the health system across England, and Suffolk.  We are seeing increasing numbers of people living better for longer. This also means there are more people living with long term health conditions.

There are a number of things you can do, or help someone you care for to do, to ensure that you don’t get caught out this winter:

  • Be prepared – stock up with cold remedies, pain killers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, stave off upset stomachs with anti-diarrhoea and rehydration mixtures, and keep plasters and bandages on hand for any cuts or scrapes.
  • Get a flu vaccination – it will keep you from having a long recovery from this nasty illness, so book an appointment to get one if you haven’t already. People aged 65 or over, or have a long-term health condition or are pregnant are entitled to a free jab.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly – for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday through twice, use hot water and soap to wash away all kinds of viruses from colds and diarrhoea to so much more.
  • Seek help from your pharmacist – they are qualified health professionals who can advise on everything from a cold to long-term conditions.  This is often the best and quickest way to get well. Your pharmacist will let you know if a GP appointment is required. Pharmacies are one of the most accessible sources of advice, with many open long hours incl. evenings and weekends.
  • Eat well and drink at least eight cups of fluids a day – it keeps your brain and body working well.
  • Keep your home warm – By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18° – 21°C or 64°- 70°F) can keep you well, especially avoiding chest infections. If you have a disability, are over 65 or live with children aged under 5 ring this local rate number 03456 037 686 for free advice on heating your home
  • Not feeling well – If you are unsure if you need urgent or emergency care, please call NHS 111 – trained professionals are on hand to guide you.
  • Beat the winter blues – talk to someone. Talk about your anxieties with someone else, a friend, relative or a group such as the Samaritans. Talking about the things that are worrying you can make a big difference. It is easy to get help from the Suffolk Well being Service too. This is a free NHS service, suitable for people aged 16 + living in Suffolk. You can phone them on 0300 123 1781 or refer yourself via their website.

Do you have any Elderly and Vulnerable Neighbours?

Are you able to spend a few minutes to ensure that: On their own

  • they are not alone all the time
  • their paths are clear of snow and ice
  • they have plenty of food in
  • they are warm enough
  • they have sufficient medication to get through the holiday period
  • if they can use the internet, that they know where to look for information and support

Further information and support

Visiting friends and family, or just venturing out, keep up to date with the latest road, rail and weather news.

Be Prepared, Take Care and Stay Safe this Christmas

Public Health and NHS

 

 

 


Suffolk Public Health
and NHS tells us that last year winter was difficult for the health system across England, and Suffolk was no exception. For years health systems have seen increasing numbers of people who are living better for longer. This also means there are more people with several long term conditions.

There are a number of things you can do, or help someone you care for to do, to ensure that you don’t get caught out this winter:

  • Be prepared – stock up with cold remedies, pain killers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, stave off upset stomachs with anti-diarrhoea and rehydration mixtures, and keep plasters and bandages on hand for any cuts or scrapes.
  • Check your smoke alarms – with the Christmas preparations in full swing, don’t forget to ensure that your smoke alarms are in working order.
  • Get a flu vaccination – it will keep you from having a long recovery from this nasty illness, so book an appointment to get one if you haven’t already. People aged 65 or over, or have a long-term health condition or are pregnant are entitled to a free jab.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly – for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday through twice, use hot water and soap to wash away all kinds of viruses from colds and diarrhoea to so much more.
  • Seek help from your pharmacist – they are qualified health professionals who can advise on everything from a cold to long-term conditions.  This is often the best and quickest way to get well. Your pharmacist will let you know if a GP appointment is required. Pharmacies are one of the most accessible sources of advice, with many open long hours incl. evenings and weekends. Here are the Norfolk and Suffolk christmas-and-new-year-pharmacy-opening-times
  • Eat well and drink at least eight cups of fluids a day – it keeps your brain and body working well.
  • Keep your home warm – By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18° – 21°C or 64°- 70°F) you can keep you well, especially avoiding chest infections. If you have a disability, are over 65 or live with children aged under 5 ring this local rate number for free advice on heating your home. 03456 037 686
  • Not feeling well – If you are unsure if you need urgent or emergency care, please call NHS 111 – trained professionals are on hand to guide you.
  • Beat the winter blues – talk to someone. Talk about your anxieties with someone else, a friend, relative or a group such as the Samaritans. Talking about the things that are worrying you can make a big difference. It is easy to get help from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service too. This is a free NHS service, suitable for people aged 16 + living in Suffolk. You can phone them on 0300 123 1781 or refer yourself via their website.

Do you have any Elderly and Vulnerable Neighbours?

Are you able to spend a few minutes to ensure that: On their own

  • they are not alone all the time
  • their paths are clear of snow and ice
  • they have plenty of food in
  • they are warm enough
  • they have sufficient medication to get through the holiday period
  • if they can use the internet, that they know where to look for information and support

Further information and support over the Christmas and New Year Period

Visiting friends and family this Christmas, or just venturing out, keep up to date with the latest road, rail and weather news.

 

safer-suffolk-christmas-wishes

Staying Safe by Open Water

Cooling off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries and lakes looks fun, but it can have deadly consequences. Every year emergency services are called to incidents where people have got into difficulty when swimming in open water.

We would encourage everyone to share information about the dangers of cooling off in open water and to take heed of all water safety notices which warn of the dangers.

Generic Drowning Prevention Week Logo

Every June the Royal Life Saving Society UK have their Drowning Prevention Week. This campaign highlights that one person drowns every 20 hours in the UK and hundreds more suffer life changing injuries through near drownings.

Swimming in reservoirs is dangerous

Anglian Water has lots more advice about staying safe when visiting their water parks. These are operational sites and even the strongest swimmers can get into serious difficulties.

Dangers of cooling off in open water

Swimming in Open Water

The water may look calm on the surface, but there may still be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under.

The water may also feel relatively warm on the

surface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia.

There may be notices around warning of these conditions or whether swimming is even allowed.

Young people can often misjudge their swimming ability – they may view a river or lake as a tempting means of cooling off during a hot spell of weather, but fail to appreciate the harmful effects that the cold water can have on their stamina and strength.

Due to these dangers, we are urging people, particularly children and teenagers, not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.

What to do if you see someone in difficulties

 

Around water - How to help

  • Get help: ring 999 or get someone else to do it. Alternatively if you are on your own without a mobile phone, call for help if you can see people nearby, or go and get help.
  • Think: of your own safety first. Don’t put yourself in danger by going into the water to rescue someone – you may get in difficulties in the water too.
  • Look: for any safety equipment close at hand such as lifebuoys or throwing lines.
  • Reach: a stick, scarf or clothes tied together can help you reach the person. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water yourself.
  • Throw: a rope is best because you can then pull the person in. If you don’t have any rope, throwing something in that will float such as a football or even an empty plastic bottle will help in keeping the person afloat until help arrives.
  • Keep warm: once rescued, keep the casualty warm and ensure they get medical help as soon as possible.

Tombstoning – Why is it dangerous?

Tombstoning offers a high-risk, high-impact experience but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences.  This is because:

  • Water depths alter with the tide – the water may be shallower than it seems
  • Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries
  • The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim
  • Getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

Tombstoning Check out ROSPA’s advice.

Key safety tips for staying safe near water

  • Alcohol and swimming do not mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking.
  • Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other natural bodies of water.
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.
  • Do not swim near motor boats, jet skis or other power vehicles.
  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself.
  • Learn to spot and keep away from dangerous water.
  • Take safety advice – heed notices which warn you of the danger.
  • Children should always visit open water sites with a grown-up.
  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended.

MROSPA Logoore advice and information about water safety including garden ponds, ice safety, bath seats and child drowning can be found on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) website.

 

Further advice is also available from the Royal Lifesaving Society

 

Above all, whatever you are doing, have fun
and Stay Safe

Legal Highs

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – You may know them as Legal Highs

Legal Highs packaging2

What are they?

A ‘legal high’ is a psychoactive substance or chemical high, that mimics the effect of controlled drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.  They can be ingested or smoked. Many are now controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it a criminal offence to produce, import, export, possess or supply except under licence.  Many others are not controlled, however it does not mean they are safe.

The Psychoactive Substances Act received Royal Assent on 28 January 2016. The Act which applies across the whole of the UK came into force on 26 May 2016.

The Act:

  • makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess on custodial premises, import or export psychoactive substances; that is, any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be 7 years’ imprisonment
  • excludes legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products from the scope of the offence, as well as controlled drugs, which continue to be regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • exempts healthcare activities and approved scientific research from the offences under the act on the basis that persons engaged in such activities have a legitimate need to use psychoactive substances in their work
  • includes provision for civil sanctions – prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders (breach of the 2 orders will be a criminal offence) – to enable the police and local authorities to adopt a graded response to the supply of psychoactive substances in appropriate cases
  • provides powers to stop and search persons, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances

Are they Safe?

Those that are not illegal still have serious side effects such as breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, seizures, comas and even death. They take the form of powders, pills and herbal smoking material and look similar to the controlled drugs that they mimic.

How dangerous are these drugs?

BBC Newsnight investigated legal highs and their dangers.

There were a number of deaths in the UK during 2013; both as a result of direct use, or NPS were found to be a contributory factor. There have also been a number of near misses in Suffolk.

What do they contain?

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) (Class C) normally a white or off white powder this also includes related piperazines compounds such as TFMPP, DBZB, mCPP, the effects are talkative, decreased appetite, agitation, anxiety, paranoia, vomiting, fits or seizures, collapse and difficulty in sleeping.

Gamma – Butyrolactone (GBL) this is very similar to GHB and converts to GHB shortly after entering the body, it can be lethal with alcohol, users experience feelings of euphoria, reduced inhibitions, arousal, drowsiness, nausea, reduced heart rate, hypothermia, unconsciousness, coma and death. It comes in an oily colourless liquid, its main use is an industrial solvent in the chemical industry GBL and related chemical 1,4-BD are (Class C drugs when intended for human ingestion).

Synthetic cannabinoids (Class B) there are many hundreds of these synthetic cannabinoids, a herbal like substance is sprayed with various chemicals in turn giving the effect of THC which leads to the same effects as would be experienced by the use of cannabis.

Methadrone also known as Mephedrone (not to be confused with Methadone) (Class B) similar to but slightly less effect than MDMA, we have had one death in Suffolk where this substance was found as a result of a toxicology test, there has also been reported overdoses in Suffolk.

Don’t Take the Risk

Police Forces and other law enforcement agencies from both the UK and in Europe are sharing intelligence on this ever growing area of work in order to determine any risks posed.

There is evidence to suggest that consumption can cause adverse effects on heart and blood vessels, risk of dependence and psychosis and anxiety effects and the higher potency of the chemical poses a higher risk of accidental overdose.

There appears to a trend with young people trying some of the new substances for their own enjoyment with a desire to achieve a relaxing , hallucinogenic or  stimulating effect and another of a more older user, using for the stimulating and often for sexual purposes. Unfortunately in the user’s opinion and their understanding the word legal means safe, the opposite often applies.

Where are they being sold?

The drugs or chemicals have numerous trade names but it is the chemical name that may decide if it is controlled or not. It is difficult to determine if the substance is controlled or not without forensic analysis and it is possible to have two identical packets supplied by the same company, one may be controlled and one may not be controlled.

Legal Highs packaging

Legal Highs, or New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), are often sold as research chemicals, bath salts, room odourisers and plant food.  They are often sold on market stalls, at festivals and head shops which also sell other drug paraphernalia and are also available over the internet. They are also advertised not for human consumption.  All this is all done to circumnavigate the law.

Suffolk Constabulary are working with Trading Standards to stamp out all supplies of this type of product in Suffolk using various powers to include the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and The General (Product) Safety Regulations 2005 with some success.

There are 100’s of trade names to numerous to mention, names such as Pulse ultra, Ivory Wave, Ex-ses Platinum, Jamaican Ghanja, Super Skunk Extra Strength, Doves, Vanilla Sky, Recharge Extra, Solar, Amsterdam Gold, Ocean Burst, Ice Bud Super Cold, are examples of the ones that have been seized, Exodus Damnation, Clockwork Orange, Black Mamba, NBOMe, Benzo Fury, Meadow Sweet there are many more.

Please inform Trading Standards if you see these products being sold by calling their Helpline on 08454 040506.  If you have any other issues or concerns you can report these to Suffolk Police: KeepingUsInformed@suffolk.pnn.police.uk

What does the future hold?

The Government are currently researching the best way to deal with this long term problem. As soon as they control one legal high another one appears and we clearly need your help in getting the message out that these substances are not safe.  Many are illegal, please consider the consequences before you buy and consume, a criminal conviction will hinder your long term prospects such as career and employment, but more importantly consider the health implications that may be caused  by ingesting or smoking these products.

We need your help

To help the Government make their decision many organisations and individuals are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge of legal highs:

  • Who is using them?
  • Where are they buying them?
  • What effects do they get and how much they cost?

There are a number of ways you can help with the gathering of this information:

  • Share information with Suffolk Police, which will be treated in confidence
  • If you would like to discuss any aspect of psychoactive substances please contact the Controlled Drug Liaison Officer at Suffolk Constabulary email  robin.pivett@suffolk.pnn.police.uk  or telephone 01473 613500 Ext 2869 or mobile 07979 178664
  • More drug awareness information can be found on the Frank website.

Please Remember

  • Many are illegal and likely to cause you serious harm or even death.
  • Smoking or ingesting Legal Highs may cause you serious harm; you may also be committing an offence THINK before you do die! 
  • Do you know what’s in those packets, THINK! Before you smoke or ingest, Legal Highs are unsafe and can cause serious health problems or even worse

Legal Highs1

Our emphasis is firmly placed on keeping Suffolk residents, especially young people, safe from any harm that the use of these substances may cause in the future, whilst at the same time do all we can to disrupt the supply both on a local and national basis.

Warm Weather and Staying Safe Information

Dont get burnt postcard

Whilst many of us enjoy the sun and hot weather, we should make sure we do it safely. We also need to remember that certain groups of people, including the elderly and vulnerable, are more at risk of the effects of heat, and for some it can become dangerous to their health

Please share the information below with friends and family and also check on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours too.

General Advice:
  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you go out in the heat walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and a light scarf
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Have plenty of cold drinks and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • Eat cold foods particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower bathy or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important, particularly for the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves
  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • If possible move into cooler room, especially for sleeping

Look Out for Others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly or ill people to make sure they are able to keep cool
  • Ensure elderly people are not left alone in stationery cars
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every days during a heat wave
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social  services if someone is unwell or further help is needed

Longer Term:

  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35oc
  • Consider putting up external shading outside windows
  • Have your loft and cavity walls insulated
  • Grow trees and leafy plans near windows to act as natural air conditioners

Additional Useful Information:

Each year the Met Office operates a heat health watch system in England between 1 June to 15 September each year in association with the Public Health England.

 Going Away – Leaving your Home Unoccupied?

Your home is more vulnerable when you are not there, so it is important to take extra precautions whenever you go away. The key is to make it look like you are at home, even when you are not. If you can, get a friend or neighbour to look after your home. While you are away, ask them to collect your post, draw your curtains at night and open them in the mornings, and generally make the place look lived-in.

Suggestions if you are going away:

  • Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries
  • Don’t put your home address on luggage labels when travelling to your destination – thieves are on the lookout at airports and stations for indications that particular properties will be unoccupied for a while
  • If you leave your keys with a neighbour, don’t label them with your address
  • Remember to lock all doors and windows
  • Don’t leave curtains closed during the day and keep all valuable items out of sight
  • Allow a friend, family member or neighbour to park on your drive whilst you are away
  • Set timer switches to turn on lights, radios, and other appliances when you are out. These can be bought cheaply at DIY stores
  • If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set and that you have told the police who has the key
  • DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING

 Working in partnership to keep the people of Suffolk Safe

 

Current Heat Wave – Action and Advise

Whilst we may be enjoying the hot summer weather and trying to stay cool, we need to also remember that when temperatures rise this can cause vulnerable adults to be uncomfortably hot and for some it can become dangerous to their health.

Please share the important messages below with colleagues, friends, family and with your community.

General Advice:
  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you go out in the heat walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and a light scarf
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Have plenty of cold drinks and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • Eat cold foods particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower bathy or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important, particularly for the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves
  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • If possible move into cooler room, especially for sleeping

Look out for others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly or ill people to make sure they are able to keep cool
  • Ensure elderly people are not left alone in stationery cars
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every days during a heat wave
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social  services if someone is unwell or further help is needed

Longer Term:

  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35oc
  • Consider putting up external shading outside windows
  • Have your loft and cavity walls insulated
  • Grow trees and leafy plans near windows to act as natural air conditioners

Security and Safety Advice for the storing of Fertiliser

This information is circulated on the advice of Suffolk Police, however the advice given has been developed by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), National Farmers’ Unions and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO).

There have been reports of thefts in the country.  Please report any suspicious activity/ thefts immediately.

Suspicious Activity

  • All communities should remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour to the police
  • Report individuals asking specific questions about, or taking pictures of, a facility or a farm’s processes
  • Report any attempts to purchase fertilisers, diesel, herbicides or pesticides by those not authorised or suspicious individuals

101 is now the number to call your local police
In an emergency always call 999

Chemical Storage

Chemical Storage Bags

  • Where possible store all fertiliser inside a dedicated locked building or compound
  • Do not leave fertiliser where it is visible to the public
  • Do not sell fertiliser unless the purchaser is known by you to be a bona-fide farmer or user
  • Record fertiliser deliveries and usage and carryout regular stock takes and Report immediately any stock discrepancy or loss to the police
  • Record any manufacturer code numbers from the bags and detonation resistance test certificates as you may be required to present them
  • The Health and Safety Executive can provide further advice on the storage and transportation of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate

From here you can download an Alert Leaflet containing all the relevant details.