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 Chief Health Officer issues 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.
Services that may be affected are:
- Seniors Community outings and events
- Regional Assessment Service for My Aged Care
- Occasional Care
- Immunisation sessions
- Commonwealth Home Support Program for My Aged Care including Occupational Therapy, Meals on Wheels, Social Support Groups
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.
See the Better Health Channel on heat and child safety
Caring for pets in the heat
It's important to make sure your pets are also looked after during hot weather.
- Never leave your pets unattended in a vehicles (even when parked in the shade). Pets can overheat even when the windows are down or the car is in the shade.
- Walk your dog in the morning or evening when it's cooler to reduce the risk of heatstroke and burning their paws on the pavement.
- Bring pets indoors where possible to an air-conditioned area.
- Make sure your pets have access to plenty of cool, clean water in a shady spot. Make sure to top up the water during the day and provide multiple water sources in case one gets knocked over or spilled.
- Make sure your pets have plenty of shade at all times of the day.
Keeping Pets Cool - RSPCA or Caring for animals during extreme heat - Agriculture Victoria
Coping with extreme heat and heat-related illness
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.
See the Better Health Channel on coping with extreme heat
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 on heat-related illness
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:
- 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