January 11, 2021

How to stay safe in the heat

With temperatures expected to hit 39 degrees today, it’s important to stay safe and hydrated through the day, stay away from direct sun and to be aware of any fire dangers around you.

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

Janice Fernandes, Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager, advises limiting exposure to the sun from 10 am -4 pm, when UV rays are the strongest.

“Certain conditions, such as simple as sunburn and as serious as heat stroke, can be prevented by avoiding exposure and exertion during the hottest times of the day. Also, never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car. Stay hydrated and stay safe – check on your friends, family, and neighbours who may have a higher risk of heat related illness,” she said.

Jason Amos, Manager Emergency Management explained that as summer progresses, we will continue to experience hot days.

“Although we have had wetter periods and cooler temperatures towards the end to 2020, unfortunately this results in an abundance of grass growth throughout the state. All we need is a few days above 30 degrees like we are currently seeing and the grass will dry out rapidly resulting in greater grass fire risk,” he explained.

Staff travelling to or from work or our Home Visiting staff who undertake essential patient home visits throughout the day must ensure that they aware of the daily fire danger ratings.

“Also, whether you are travelling for work or travelling throughout Victoria while on leave, check to see if there are any fires along your travel routes by downloading the VicEmergency app on your phone or visiting www.emergency.vic.gov.au and ensure you have plenty of drinking water during your travels. Stay aware, stay healthy and most importantly stay safe in the heat,” he added.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe during a heat wave:

  • Drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Take a bottle with you always.
  • Hot cars kill. Never leave kids, older people or pets in cars. The temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes.
  • Keep cool. Seek out air-conditioned buildings, draw your blinds, use a fan, take cool showers and dress in light and loose clothing made from natural fabrics.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule activities in the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising in the heat. If you must go out, wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Check in on others. Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets.