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Extreme heat and heat health

We are experiencing longer and hotter summers.

We have implemented a number of strategies to reduce heat in the community including:

Advice for staying safe during extreme heat

Check the weather forecast

You can check the upcoming weather forecast by:

Heat health alerts

The Chief Health Officer issues heat health alerts to let the community know when a period of high temperatures is expected that can impact human health, community infrastructure (such as the power supply and public transport), and services.

You can see the current heat health alert status on the Victorian Department of Health website.

Total fire ban days

A total fire ban aims to reduce the activities that may start a fire. It sets legal restrictions on what activities can or cannot occur in a particular district. There are nine districts in Victoria and Merri-bek is part of the Central District.

You can get more information about fire bans on the Country Fire Authority website.

Things to do when it's hot

Prevention is always the best way to manage heat-related illness. Plan ahead for hot days and think about where you can go when the heat hits.

You can find out more by reading our  Keep Cool in Merri-bek: Easy ways to prepare for extreme heat (PDF).

Keep out of the heat

As a Council, we offer a place to stay out of the heat and a cool drink of water during our opening hours at:

Other ways to stay cool:

  • Stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest part of the day, 10am to 3pm
  • Do your activities that require effort during the cooler parts of the day before 10am, like exercise or gardening
  • If you are outside wear a hat and light loose-fitting clothes, preferably natural fibres
  • Go to an air-conditioned building in your local area to cool off, such as a shopping mall or swimming pool

Check on your neighbours, friends and family

  • Consider family members, friends or neighbours who may need extra assistance in planning for hot days.
  • Check on friends and neighbours when it is hot, especially if they are elderly, have a medical condition or are alone. 

Keep hydrated

  • Drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. Water and fruit juice are best.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee and sugary drinks as they make dehydration worse.
  • Eat small, regular meals rather than large meals, with more cold food, such as salads and fruit that contain water.
  • You can find free tap water wherever you need it on the Choose Tap website.

Stay cool

  • Splash yourself several times a day with cold water, especially your face and the back of your neck. Putting a loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can also help you stay cool.
  • Reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows using external shades or light-coloured curtains.
  • Ensure there is enough air circulation, either from an air conditioner or by leaving a secured window or door open.

Keep an eye out on people who are sleeping rough

  • Extreme hot weather conditions can have an impact on people who are sleeping rough.
  • If you notice a rough sleeper who may be impacted by the hot weather, please advise Vincent Care on 9304 0100, or 1800 825 955 if it is after business hours.

Never leave people and pets in a hot car

  • Do not leave people or pets in a hot, parked car, especially children and the elderly. There are no excuses and no exceptions.

Look after your pets

  • Ensure there is water inside and out and plenty of shade in the backyard.
  • Pavement heat can be intense and can burn. Make sure you don't walk a dog on hot pavement.
  • On very hot days allow your pet to stay inside, especially older pets, with water available.
  • Ensure that other pets, such as birds, ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs, have shade and water.

Get help

  • If you or someone you know is unwell, you can call the nurse-on-call service on 1300 606 024 for 24-hour health advice or contact your local doctor for advice. 
  • Call 000 in an emergency. If you or someone else is suffering heat-related symptoms, such as fits, confusion or staggering, call 000 immediately.

Heatwave and heat-related illness

A heatwave is an extended period of very high temperatures, often with humidity. Excessive heat is when the temperature stays close to 10 degrees above the average temperature.

Heatwaves can affect anybody, including the young and healthy, but there are certain people more at risk. People over 65 years old, people with a chronic medical condition or disability, and people living alone or socially isolated are at higher risk.

Heat-related illness can occur when the body is unable to adequately cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn’t enough and the body temperature keeps rising.

Extreme hot weather can cause heat-related illnesses, such as rash or heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke which may be fatal. Heat can worsen the condition of someone who already has a medical condition such as heart disease.

You can find Better Health Channel website you can find: