Heatwave readiness


Heatwaves have killed more Australians in the past 130 years than any other natural disaster combined.

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There are a number of ways you can try and stay cool during heatwaves.

  • Use fans and air conditioners to keep cool. Visit the Actsmart website for tips on saving energy in your home
  • Drink water regularly, unless your doctor has advised you to limit the amount of fluid you drink
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day

If you know someone who lives alone, be sure to give them a call throughout the day to make sure they’re alright during a heatwave.

Some medications increase the risk of heat stress. Check with your doctor whether your prescribed medication is likely to cause difficulties for you in the heat.

Did you know?

In Australia, the most lethal day for a heatwave is 27 January, the day after Australia Day.

During heatwaves, heat stress and dehydration can occur if you aren’t prepared. This can lead to exhaustion, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.

If you work outdoors, it's important that you remain well hydrated and frequently take breaks in the shade.

Did you know?

In Australia, between 2001 and 2013 there were 13 work-related fatalities from exposure to environmental heat. Exposure to outdoor heat is deadly.

Due to the risk of dehydration and heat stress, outdoor exercise during periods of extreme heat should be avoided especially in the hottest part of the day.

Even low intensity sports such as cricket, golf and lawn bowls increase the risk of heat stress. During periods of extreme heat people need to take more breaks and drink water regularly.

Discomfort is the best personal indication of heat stress and participants need to listen to their body to reduce the risk of heat stress.

To help minimise the impacts of a heatwave, you can:

  • Wear light coloured, loose-fitting clothing, preferably made from natural fibres, and if outside, put on a wide brimmed hat that shades your face
  • Plan to do your shopping or outdoor activities in the cooler parts of the day
  • Where possible, stay indoors during the middle of the day and early afternoon

Did you know?

The ACT has the highest participation rate in sport of any state or territory. It’s important to protect yourself by drinking water regularly, wearing appropriate attire and sunscreen.

Heatwaves are the most deadly natural occurring disaster in Australia.

People who are elderly, unwell or have a disability are the most exposed to harm from heatwaves. You can help by identifying those who might need assistance during a heatwave and checking on them frequently to make sure they’re alright.

Did you know?

Every library in the ACT is air conditioned, so they’re great places to spend time during the hottest part of the day. Find your nearest library.

Driving: Never leave children or pets alone in a car, even for a very short time. The temperature inside a car can become life-threatening within minutes.

Active travel: Active travellers are more exposed to the risks of extreme heat. During periods of extreme heat, active travel should be avoided during the hottest parts of the day. These risks can be minimised by wearing appropriate attire, remaining well hydrated and always carrying extra water.

Public transport: When travelling on public transport in times of extreme heat, ensure that you carry water, remain well hydrated and wear appropriate attire for avoiding dehydration or heat stress.

Did you know?

In 2013, Canberra recorded its hottest January temperature of 42 °C.