HOW TO BEAT THE HEATWAVES
The climate crisis means our summers are getting hotter and hotter and heatwaves are more common.
How to prepare for a heatwave:
- KNOW: Heatwaves can kill. Heat risk increases for vulnerable groups including people over 65, people who are pregnant, babies and young children.
- CONNECT: Connect with your community, identify any neighbours or friends that are isolated, vulnerable or need support.
- ORGANISE: Prepare by making your home cooler, install awnings & shade cloths, check fans (or air-con if you have it) are working, stock up on ice, medicines and food.
- ACT: Learn the signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Staying cool during a heatwave:
- IF YOU MUST BE OUTSIDE, WEAR: Light clothes, hat and sunscreen.
- STAY HYDRATED: Drink plenty of water and have water with you.
- SHELTER: Stay inside as much as possible, cool off in air-conditioned public spaces like libraries, cool your home by drawing the blinds, turning on fans (or air-con if you have it).
- COOL DOWN: Splash or spray yourself with cold water, use a cool damp cloth to cool off, dampen your clothing, wrap ice cubes in a wet towel around your neck, take cool showers.
- INCREASE AIRFLOW: Use an electric fan to push away the hot air on your skin. On days over 42C avoid using fans as they push hot air around and make you hotter.
In an emergency call 000 immediately.
Keep an eye on your mood and ability to think and plan. Check in on your neighbours and any vulnerable or isolated people you know.
But we don't just need individuals to take action.
In the last sitting period of 2023, I gave this Notice of Motion in NSW Parliament:
(1) That this House notes that the annual Lancet Countdown on health and climate change report, co-authored by 114 researchers from 52 research institutions, including the World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization, entitled “The imperative for a health-centred response in a world facing irreversible harms” published on 14 November 2023 found that:
- Heat-related deaths in people aged over 65 have already increased by 85 per cent over the past 30 years
- There are now twice as many heatwave days as there were in the years 1986–2005
- Heat-related deaths will increase by 370 per cent by the middle of the century without substantial progress on climate adaptation, and heat-related labour loss will increase by 50 per cent
(2) That this House further notes that
- Heatwaves kill more people in Australia than any other natural hazard
- Vulnerable people are disproportionately represented in the number of heat-related deaths each year, most often occuring when isolated in their homes
(3) That this House calls on the government to:
- Support local government to enable provision of safe cool spaces are accessible on hot days into the evening, including community centres, public libraries and swimming pools
- Re-write the NSW Heatwave Sub Plan in consultation with the recently established Greater Sydney Heat Taskforce funded through the joint Australian Government-NSW Government National Partnership Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction
- Remove barriers to the installation of air-conditioning in social and public housing
- Support renters to request heatwave-safe alterations be made to their homes, including blinds, screen doors or other small changes
- Urgently roll out accessible shaded bus shelters with seating, starting in Western Sydney and other urban heat islands