We experience prolonged periods of heat from time-to-time and a common sense approach is always required including SunSmart policies, air conditioning and staying out of the heat especially for elderly or at-risk groups.
Victorian Councils have a Heatwave Plan that is used for planning and responding to heatwaves.
The Department of Health and Human Services operates the heat health alert system which notifies local governments, program areas, hospitals and state-wide and major metropolitan health and community service providers, and the general community of forecast extreme heat and heatwave conditions which are likely to impact on human health. You can sign-up to receive direct heat health alerts or check the VicEmergency website or app for more information and advice.
There will be a state-wide, co-ordinated response to the impacts and consequences of extreme heat events (including heatwaves) on the community, infrastructure, and services.
Before and during a heatwave:
- Stay hydrated.
- Drink two to three litres of water each day, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Dress light. Lighter clothing helps your body stay cool. Light-coloured clothing reflects heat and sunlight.
- Check on family, friends and neighbours especially those most at risk such as the elderly and young children.
- Stay out of the sun or take shelter. If you need to be out in the sun, wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sunburn will affect your body's ability to cope with the heat.
- Draw your curtains, blinds and awnings at the start of the day to keep as much sun out of your home as possible.
- Seek air conditioning. If you don't have air conditioning at home, spend the day somewhere that does such as a library, cinema or shopping centre. If you do have an air conditioner at home, make sure it has been serviced. Fans will also help you stay cool.
- Make sure your pets have plenty of shade and enough cool water to last the entire day. Hose them down or put ice cubes in their bowl. Check on them regularly.
- Don't leave children or pets in parked vehicles.
- If you or those close to you are suffering heat stress, call for help immediately.
- Symptoms of heat stress include extremely heavy sweating, headache and vomiting, confusion, swollen tongue.
- All life-threatening situations should be reported by calling triple-0.
Find out more about our Cool Relief Centres
After a heatwave:
- You should continue to check on family, friends and neighbours, particularly those most at risk.
- It's also important that you keep drinking water regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty.
- Also, be careful around trees — they often drop limbs when it is hot.