* 1 December 2023 *
On 19 September, the Bureau of Meteorology formally announced an El Niño event for Australia during the 2023/2024 summer. This means that parts of Australia will likely experience warmer and drier conditions with minimal rainfall, increasing the risk of heatwaves and fire danger. Get prepared now!
It is wise to prepare ahead for days of extreme heat and know how to look after yourself.
Stock up on Food and Medication
- Have some extra stocks of packaged/tinned food so you don’t have to go out on hot days.
- Make sure you have enough of your regular medications to last you during a heatwave. Store them safely at the recommended temperature – some items must be stored in the fridge.
Be Prepared for a Power Outage
- On very hot days, there can be power outages due to high power use. You can be prepared by having a torch and spare batteries where you can easily get them if the power goes out.
- Make sure you keep your mobile phone charged or have a back-up phone that doesn’t require electricity.
- Consider getting a battery-operated radio so you can listen to the news and weather updates.
Be as Healthy as you can be
- See your doctor and make sure that any medical conditions you have are as well-controlled as possible.
- It is important to maintain your aerobic fitness and maintain a healthy weight so that your body copes as well as possible with the heat.
Prepare Your Home
- If you have fans, awnings, a cooling system etc, check to make sure they are in good working order before the hot weather comes. Have your cooling system serviced if needed.
- Consider other ways to make your home more comfortable in extreme heat conditions.
- Ceiling fans, interior block-out curtains, external awnings/blinds, cooling/air conditioning, shade cloth and insulation all improve the comfort of your home and your ability to cope with heat.
On hot days…
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, if possible, made from natural fibres like cotton or linen.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
- Drink plenty of fluids – especially water; avoid too much tea or coffee and avoid alcohol.
- Put a jug of water in the fridge so you have cold water readily available.
- Note: if you are on fluid restrictions, check with your doctor how much you can drink in hot weather; consider alternatives such as ice cubes.
Keep Your House Cool
- If you have a cooling system, switch it on before your house heats up and keep it at a comfortable temperature.
- Close curtains/blinds/awnings to block out the sun.
- If you are using fans, make sure there is adequate ventilation.
- Open windows only when the air outside has cooled down.
Eat Little and Often
- Eat smaller, lighter meals more often.
- Choose cold foods such as salads and fruit.
- Make sure food that needs refrigeration is put away quickly.
Stay Where it is Coolest
- Find the coolest area in your home and stay there.
- Use wet towels to cool yourself.
- Avoid activity; postpone outings.
- Avoid going outside unless unavoidable.
- If you must go out, stay in the shade, take a bottle of water with you, wear long-sleeved loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.