Preparing for extreme heat and keeping safe

Everybody is being urged to never leave kids in hot cars and to prepare for dangerous heatwaves this summer as new data reveals there have already been 256 callouts to locked cars since the start of November.

 

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos joined Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton and paramedics to launch the Never leave Kids in Cars and Survive the Heat campaigns.

 

On Wednesday alone there were eight locked-in-car call outs, 62 patients assessed with a heat-related condition and 28 call-outs for heat exposure. Since 1 November, 485 patients have been assessed with a heat-related condition.

 

Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said, “Heat can and does kill – it is a confronting but very real fact and that is why we are urging the community to prepare. Heat illness can affect anybody.”

 

A car’s temperature can more than double within minutes and kids’ body temperatures rise three to five times faster than an adult’s, meaning they are at greater risk of life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration and organ damage when left in the car.

 

Extreme heat kills more Victorians than any other natural disaster. Last summer there were an average 11 callouts for heat exposure on days above 35 degrees, compared to two on cooler days – a 500 per cent increase – and 37 for dehydration, heat stress, heat stroke and severe sunburn.

 

Those at the highest risk of heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke are people over 65, anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, pregnant women, those breastfeeding, and children aged up to five.

 

Heatwaves are dangerous when coupled with high overnight temperatures as they can interfere with the body’s natural ability to cool down, which can cause heat illness, and can lead to heatstroke.

 

This year to 30 November, paramedics have responded to more than 1,491 call outs to people locked in vehicles. These incidents shockingly include children under the age 13 – overwhelmingly toddlers and babies.

 

To survive the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water, stay cool and seek out air-conditioned buildings
  • Plan ahead and schedule activities in the coolest part of the day
  • Check in on others – Look after those most at risk in the heat.
  • For more information on staying cool this summer visit the Better Health Channel.

 

See also:

Residential Aged Care Service – Caring for Older People in Warmer Weather

Home Care and CHSP – Caring for Older People in Warmer Weather

 

21 December 2019.