Heatwaves typically occur in Queensland between October and March. Heatwaves can impact anyone, especially the more vulnerable members of our community, so it’s important to learn how to look after yourself and others during a heatwave.

Be like Alice and Alfredo. Have a plan to beat the heat

What is a heatwave?

  • A heatwave occurs when both maximum and minimum temperatures are unusually hot over a three-day period at a location, in relation to the local climate and past weather at that location.
  • Heatwaves are calculated using the forecast maximum and minimum temperatures for the next three days, compared to both actual temperatures over the previous 30 days and to the ‘normal’ temperatures expected for that location based on past records.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology Heatwave Service activates between October and March each year to provide heatwave warnings for Australia, activating earlier or for longer depending on the forecast.

Why is it important?

  • Heatwaves are a silent killer, having caused more deaths since 1890 than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined.
  • Severe heatwaves can be challenging for more vulnerable people, such as:
    • the elderly;
    • the very young;
    • people who work outdoors;
    • low socio-economic households;
    • those with chronic disease conditions or other compromised physical and mental wellbeing; and
    • potentially those from non-English speaking backgrounds or cultural groups where practices may increase exposure to heat impacts
  • Extreme heatwaves will impact normally reliable infrastructure, such as power and transport. Extreme heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool, even those who are healthy.

Check your property

  • Prepare an emergency kit in case of power failure and keep your emergency kit in an easy to access area.
  • Check your fans, air-conditioners, fridges and freezers to make sure they are in good working order.
  • Shade windows from the morning and try to ventilate your house without compromising security.

Managing the impacts of heatwave

  • Have a plan to beat the heat
  • Stay hydrated
    • drink plenty of water
    • avoid alcoholic, hot and sugary drinks
  • Stay out of the sun
    • avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day (10am to 3pm)
    • if you have to go outside, wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres
  • Keep cool
    • minimise physical activity
    • use fans or air conditioners at home, or spend time elsewhere with air conditioning e.g. library, shopping centre
    • take cool showers or baths and splash yourself with cold water frequently throughout the day
  • Check on and look after others:
    • loss of refrigeration can cause damage to some medications, so check
  • Don’t forget your pets! Pets can be affected by heat-related illness too, so make sure they have unrestricted access to shade and plenty of water during the day.
  • Stay food safe by following these tips for keeping food safe in hot weather and remember: if in doubt, throw it out!

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