A heatwave is three or more days of maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for that location.

Heatwaves will likely be more challenging for the elderly, pregnant women, young children and babies.

Heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool, even if you are healthy.

Heatwaves can also cause normally reliable infrastructure such as power and transport to fail.

Severe and extreme heatwaves have taken more lives than any other natural hazard in Australia’s 200 year history. An example in Victoria; 173 people perished as a direct result of the bushfires, however 374 people lost their lives to an extreme heatwave before the bushfires.

Heat stress and heat exhaustion can be serious, even fatal. Know the signs:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Intense thirst
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps which get worse or don’t go away

Before a Heatwave

  • Check our website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Think about modifying your planned activities so that you are indoors or in airconditioning.
  • Install blinds, curtains or other devices which help to keep the heat out.
  • Check your fans and air-conditioners are working properly.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough food, water and medicine.

During a Heatwave

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Stay out of the sun, especially between 11am – 3pm.
  • Close curtains and blinds to keep rooms cool.
  • Avoid physical exertion if possible.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and wear a hat, glasses and sunscreen if going outside.
  • Have cool baths or showers or splash yourself with cool water.

After a Heatwave

  • Check on friends, neighbours and vulnerable people who may be less able to look after themselves.

Useful Links

www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html

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