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Heatwaves

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About heatwaves

A heatwave is a period of unusual and uncomfortably hot weather that can affect anybody. Heatwaves can make existing medical conditions worse and cause a heat-related illness, which may be fatal. Extended periods of heat can also affect community infrastructure such as the power supply, public transport and other services.

If you are experiencing a heat related emergency, call:

  • 000 for life-threatening emergencies
  • NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for 24-hour health advice

Our role in a heatwave 

Once the Department of Health and Human Services announces a heatwave by issuing a Heat Health Alert, Council's Heatwave Plan will be activated and some regular services may be reduced or cancelled to protect vulnerable members of the community.

You can personally receive a heat health alert notification from DHHS via email when you subscribe to the heat health alert system.

Council services that may be affected are:

  • Planned Activity Group
  • Social Support
  • Maternal and child health
  • Assessment and care coordination
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Vacation Care
  • Family Day Care
  • Occasional Care
  • Immunisation sessions
  • Home and Community Care
  • Supported Residential Services and Direct Care Services.

If services or appointments are affected, we will contact customers to let them know.

Call us on 1300 88 22 33 or 03 9298 4598 if you are unsure about your service being available. 

Who is most at risk?

Those most at risk during a heatwave are members of the community who: 

  • are aged over 65 years, especially those living alone
  • have a medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness
  • take medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat
  • experience problematic alcohol or other drug use 
  • have a disability who may not be able to identify or communicate their discomfort or thirst
  • have trouble moving around (such as those who are bed bound or in wheelchairs)
  • are overweight or obese
  • work or are physically active outdoors
  • are pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children.

Never leave children unattended in a vehicle 

In Victoria, it is illegal to leave a child unattended under the Children, Youth and Families Act (2005)

Leaving children unattended in a vehicle on any day is also very dangerous, especially on a hot summer’s day as it can result in serious injury or death.  The Better Health Channel website has details. 

Coping with extreme heat

The Better Health Channel has extensive information on how to cope and stay safe in extreme heat, including:

  • Coping with the heat
  • Practical hot weather resources
  • Older people and hot weather
  • Children and hot weather
  • Active people and hot weather
  • How you can help others
  • Prepare for extreme heat
  • Prepare for a power failure
  • Where to get help.

Preparing for a power failure

Think about what you would do if a heatwave caused loss of electricity or disrupted public transport. 

Be prepared and ensure you have:

  • torch
  • a fully charged mobile phone or a telephone that will work without electricity
  • a battery-operated radio and sufficient batteries.

Check power outage status through Ausnet’s outage tracker.

Heat-related illness

Heat may cause some illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. More importantly heat may worsen the condition of someone who already has a medical issue such as heart disease or diabetes.

See the Better Health Channel website for information.

Related links

25/05/2017
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