Preparing for heatwaves
Information on how to get yourself, your family and your home ready for heatwaves before they happen.
Stay up to date
Be aware of your environment, any changes that are occurring, and monitor your health.
- If you or someone else is unwell, know who to call for help. In life-threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000).
- Monitor the local weather using the Bureau of Meteorology Heatwave Service.
- Identify places you can go to keep cool, such as swimming pools, public libraries and shopping centres.
- Keep in contact with your relatives, neighbours and friends.
- Have the contact details of your doctor, your pharmacist or other health professional.
Find out if your health is at risk
Some medical conditions can make the effects of heatwaves on your health more serious. If you or someone you live with is in an at-risk group, it is important to prepare early.
Speak to your doctor about:
- how extreme heat may affect your medical condition
- how much water you can drink, especially if you normally need to limit your fluids.
Your medications may also increase the risk of heat-related illness. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any medications you are taking:
- can affect your health in the heat
- become less effective or toxic in severe heat
- should be stored in the fridge.
Get your home ready
During a heatwave it's best to remain inside and to try and stay cool. These steps will help keep you safe in your home during hot weather.
Check your appliances
Certain appliances will help you stay safe and comfortable during a heatwave.
- confirm fridges, freezers, fans and air conditioners are in working order
- set your air conditioning to the 'cool' setting.
Have an adequate supply of essentials to minimise the number of times you need to go out in the heat.
- Keep a week's worth of food for your household (including pets) in your home.
- Organise enough of the medicines that you need.
- Check you have plenty of drinking water.
- Have ice and a cooler box ready in case you need to leave your home or there is a power outage. Using a cold pack or placing ice in a spray water bottle are ways to keep yourself cool.
Block outside heat
There are several ways to reduce the hot outside air from entering your home.
- Install reflective window coverings or use curtains with pale linings to block out the heat – particularly on windows that face west.
- Seal any gaps around windows and doors to help insulate against the outside air.
- Use awnings, blinds, shutters or material like shade cloth to stop sun shining on windows.
Having an opening at either end of your home can create air movement that cools your home. Check you can do this without compromising your home's security.
Prepare an emergency kit
- torch, matches, candles
- battery-operated radio and batteries
- first-aid kit.