Heat Smart – heatwave preparedness

When thinking about emergency planning, we often think about fire, flood or storms, however heat is equally dangerous to our health should be planned for.

Preparing for heat is about more than just access to airconditioning or fans. Heat can have wide-ranging impacts, many of which fall outside our control.thermometer-g4a3051cf3_1920

Extreme heat can cause disruptions to infrastructure like electricity, public transport and telecommunications. This can lead to delays getting home, disrupt routines for picking up kids, caring for pets, or getting in touch with elderly family members.

It’s important to ensure we have thought through what we can do to plan ahead for heatwave and prepare our home and those we love for the summer period.

For at-risk groups such as the elderly, those with chronic health conditions or very young children, there may be extra factors to consider which are best discussed with your GP.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has been working with local councils, local health districts including South Western Sydney Local Health District and the Australian Red Cross to help communities prepare for heatwave events.

A range of resources (funded by Resilience NSW) have been developed to step households through heatwave planning.


Heatwave preparedness resources


10 tips for a cooler home

Download the A4 digital resource

Download the A5 printable resource


Heat Smart for over 70s

Download the A4 digital resource

Download the A5 printable resource


Heat Smart for parents

Download the A4 digital resource

Download the A5 printable resource


Summer checklist

  • Talk to your doctor. Ask your doctor about how heat may affect your risk. Heat can worsen existing health conditions, while some medicines can affect our ability to cope with heat.
  • Check cooling works. This includes fridges, fans and airconditioners. Don’t wait until the middle of a heatwave. Getting your airconditioner serviced at the start of summer will ensure it is working efficiently when you need it most.heat-gf309a1217_1920
  • Put up shading to protect windows and walls from heat. One of the most effective ways to prevent the home heating up is by shading walls from the hot sun. Now is the time to think about putting up external shade, installing curtains.
  • Plan your cool spots. Decide whether you will stay home, or go to a cool place such as a library, shopping centre, or friend’s home during a heat event. If travelling, consider how you will get there and back safely.
  • Plan for others. Think about how you will assist those that require care or support to stay safe. This could include children, family or pets.
  • Talk to others. Know who you can call if help is needed. The start of summer is a great time to get to know your neighbours, check their plans for the holiday period.
  • Prepare a blackout kit. Power outages are common during heatwaves and can affect key services like public transport, water and phone services. Your kit could include a torch and batteries, first aid kit and mobile power pack.
  • Prepare cool packs. It’s always handy to keep cool packs in the fridge or freezer for a hot day.

* Courtesy of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils