Extreme heat, including heatwaves, has led to more deaths than any other natural disaster in Australia. It is important to plan for extended periods of hot weather and heat waves, especially in an environment like Benalla Rural City, which is becoming increasingly prone to heat waves.
Extreme heat can affect anybody and cause illnesses including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Stay healthy in extreme heat
People most at risk from extreme heat include those aged over 65, people who may have a medical condition such as diabetes, people with a disability, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children and people who work or are physically active outdoors.
If you are experiencing health difficulties due to heat exposure you should see your doctor, contact Nurse-On-Call on 1300 60 60 24 or for urgent assistance or in an emergency call Triple Zero (000).
Strategies for coping with heat
- Keep cool by spending as much time as possible in cool or air-conditioned buildings
- Drink plenty of water
- Stay out of the sun and wear a hat if you have to go out
- Avoid strenuous activity such as sports, home improvements or gardening
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Never leave children, adults or animals in parked vehicles
- Stay in touch with sick or frail friends, neighbours or relatives
For further information on extreme heat and avoiding impacts to health for you and your family visit the Better Health Channel's 'Survive the Heat' page.
Keep cool at these facilities:
In extreme weather conditions, the risk of power outage is greater and people should be prepared and have a plan to manage blackouts. Consider your need for back-up power if you are highly reliant on electricity and don’t rely on power as part of any bushfire preparedness plan.
Remember power outages can also affect phones, radios and water pumps - so arrange for alternatives don’t need electricity supply.
- Have a battery-powered radio and spare batteries available to hear alerts and warnings in case the power fails
- A fully charged mobile phone or spare battery is a great backup for those who do not have a landline
- Keep a list of contacts written down near the phone, including emergency contacts such as SES
- Keep a battery-powered torch in an easily accessible place
- Have a non-electric pump available that can be operated from an alternative water supply such as a swimming pool, tank or dam
If you have special needs that require an uninterrupted power supply, you’ll need to report this to your electricity retailer and ensure that you always keep your contact details updated with them.
More information about power outages and other electrical emergencies, go to the Energy Safe Victoria website.
If you are experiencing a power outage or if you want to report an electrical fault, contact Ausnet.
Long grass, dry leaves, debris and blocked gutters all require attention in advance of the fire and heat season.
It is the responsibility of the owner or occupier to ensure their property is ready for fire and heat, with recommendations including:
- grass being less than 70mm high
- raking up dry grass, leaves and other debris
- keeping gutters clear of leaf litter
- storing flammable liquids and woodpiles away from the house
- storing LPG cylinders upright with the vent pipe facing away from the house
- detailing your Bushfire Survival Plan
The Council is responsible for reminding property owners to prepare for fire and heat under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, which includes Council officers being authorised to inspect private land and serve Fire Prevention Notices, which direct owners or occupiers of land to take measures against fire hazards.