Summer safety

It's going to be hot this summer, and we want to make sure everyone is staying safe (and cool!).

Check out the resources below to help keep you safe, informed and aware during the warm weather.

If you're feeling the heat, please contact:
NURSE-ON-CALL by calling 1300 60 60 24 for 24-hour health advice.
For life-threatening emergencies call 000.

Summer safety FAQs

What is a heatwave?

What is a heatwave?

A heatwave is when the maximum and minimum temperatures are unusually hot over 3 days. This is compared to the local climate and past weather.
It takes more than a high daily maximum temperature to make a heatwave. It's also about how much it cools down overnight.

Cooler nights allow some recovery from each day's heat. A high overnight temperature can mean that the next day heats up quickly. There may be more hours of extreme heat.

In heatwaves, hot nights make it harder to recover from the heat of the day. This puts more stress on the body.

Did you know?

  • Heatstroke has an 80% fatality rate.
  • 374 excess deaths in 2009 due to the Jan/Feb heatwave
  • Heatwaves cause more deaths than any other weather-related disaster in Australia.

What is extreme heat?

Extreme heat or heatwaves are a period of unusually hot weather that cause people to become ill from heat-stress or heatstroke – which can be fatal.

Extreme heat can affect everyone, however those most at risk are older people, young children, and people with a medical condition. Extreme heat can also affect community infrastructure (such as power supply and public transport) and other services.

What does it mean if there is a heatwave warning?

A heatwave warning consists of 4 maps covering 4 three-day periods, extending out to 3 days in the future.

The warning includes:

  • Expected maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • When the heatwave will peak and/or ease.
  • A list of affected towns and communities within the warning area.
  • Action statements in heatwave warnings

The warnings include five sets of action statements that match the heatwave severity. These have been agreed with our partner health and emergency service agencies across Australia.

Our heatwave warnings complement heat health messages provided by state and territory agencies.

What is a heat health warning?

A heat health warning notifies the community, local governments, hospitals, health and community services of the risk and likely impact on people's health.

The Chief Health Officer may also issue a heat health warning when they consider forecast temperatures pose a health risk for example a single day of extremely high temperatures.

Who is impacted by heat?

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but those most at risk are:

  • People over 65 years of age, particularly those living alone or without air conditioning.
  • Babies and young children.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People who are breastfeeding.
  • People with particular health conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, etc.
  • People taking certain medications - as some side effects may impair their body’s ability to lose heat.

Elderly people are more susceptible to heat-related illness because their body may not adjust well to sudden or prolonged temperature change. They are also more likely to have a chronic medical condition and be taking medication that may interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

Factors that increase the risk of heat-related illness in older people include:

  • Self-care ability.
  • Level of independence.
  • Living alone.
  • Physical changes including producing less sweat.
  • Chronic medical problems.
  • Use of medication.
  • Kidney and heart problems.

What are some tips for keeping cool at home?

  • Close your curtains and blinds during the day to block the sun out.
  • Close doors to rooms you aren’t using.
  • Seal gaps around doors/windows to insulate.
  • Keep yourself cool by placing wet towels on your head and feet.
  • Place your feet in cool water.
  • Take cool(not cold) showers.
  • Eat smaller meals more often (and cold meals such as salads).
  • Use air conditioning and fans to cool the house before the hottest hours of the day.

How can I prepare for a power outage?

  • Inform your electricity retailer ASAP if you require life support equipment.
  • Keep a physical list of essential contacts.
  • Prepare portable battery chargers, batteries, and alternative lighting.
  • Have bottled water and non-perishable food ready.
  • Use a solar battery where you can.
  • Ensure you have a torch, fully charged mobile phone, a battery-operated radio, and some spare batteries.
  • Stock up on medications and other essential items
  • Consider a battery-operated or handheld fan to assist with cooling.
  • Turn off appliances and devices at the wall if power goes out.