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Stay safe in the heat

Heatwaves and individual days of extreme heat can be dangerous, particularly for those more at-risk populations including people aged 65 years and over, babies and young children, and those with certain medical conditions.

During heatwaves ambulances and hospitals get lots of requests for help from the community so their services must be prioritised. You can help by taking care of your own health and those around by preparing for a heatwave and following these steps:

View the eight steps for staying safe in the heat

1. Plan ahead and make time to rest

Reschedule activities for the coolest part of the day or another day.

Allow yourself plenty of time to rest and avoid heavy activity like sport, renovating and gardening. 

2. Drink lots of water

You need to drink more water during hot weather, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If your doctor normally limits your fluids, speak to them about how much to drink during hot weather. 

Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

3. Dress appropriately

Wear lightweight, light coloured and loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton and linen. Avoid dark colours and heavy fabrics.

4. Avoid spending time outside in the sun

If you must go outside, wear a hat, sunscreen, take a bottle of water with you and stay in the shade.

For those in areas of bushfire risk it is important to continue monitoring conditions – visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au to learn more about preparing for bushfires.

5. Keep yourself cool

Use damp towels containing ice, put your feet in cool water and take cool (not cold) showers. 

6. Keep your home cool

Block out the sun and heat at home by closing curtains, blinds and windows. After the temperature drops and sun goes down, open doors and window to air out your home.

Use a fan or air-conditioner if you have one at home or go to a friend or family member’s home with air-conditioning.

You can also consider visiting an air-conditioned public building to escape the heat. We have provided a list of cool spaces below.

Remember, if your home is in an area of bushfire risk and it is a day of Extreme or Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating then you should relocate to a safer location.  

7. Check on those most at risk

If you know someone who is an older person, has a medical condition or is more at risk in a heatwave, including people in your neighbourhood who live alone. Check in with them to see if they need assistance keeping cool.

8. Be prepared for power outages

Heatwaves can cause power outages. Make sure you have a plan in place in case the power goes out, such as having a battery-operated fan and plenty of drinking water.

Have some long-life pantry food items available that don’t require powered appliances for meal preparation. Know how to be food safe during power outages.

Have a battery or wind-up radio available for updates and emergency warnings. ABC 774AM is the local emergency broadcaster.

 

Know the signs of heat related illness

Heat signs

Heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion which can lead to the life-threatening condition, heatstroke. Heatstroke is fatal in up to 80% of cases. 

Heat can also worsen the condition of someone who already has a medical issue such as heart disease or diabetes. Most reported illness and death is due to the effect of heat on those who are already ill. 

If you or someone you know is unwell call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for free 24-hour health advice or see your doctor.  

In an emergency, always call Triple Zero 000. 

Cool spaces to escape the heat

Many public buildings such as shopping centres and City of Casey facilities have air conditioning which you may want to make use of if you don’t have a fan or air-conditioner at home or a friend or family member’s home.

Some of City of Casey’s community centres are available to visit during their general opening hours Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm (not including public holidays):

The Connected Libraries are also open and welcoming of visitors during their normal hours.

When deciding to come to a City of Casey facility you should consider:

  • Your safety in travelling to and from the facility – during a heatwave going outside to use public transport may increase your risk of heat related illness.
  • Emergency services and relief agencies will not be available at these locations - the facilities will not be setup the same as an emergency relief centre or shelter. No food relief or first aid will be available.
  • During a heatwave City of Casey facilities are also at risk of being impacted during a power outage – if the power goes out the facility may need to close early.  

Find out more

For more information on preparing for and staying safe during a heatwave, visit the Emergency Prepare and Better Health.

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