With the effects of climate change getting worse and an official declaration of El Nino, meteorologists are saying it's likely we'll have a hotter and drier summer than usual, putting us at risk of heatwaves and bushfire events.
Heatwaves pose the biggest threat of any natural disaster in Australia, so it's really important to take time to prepare yourself. The benefit of advance warnings is the opportunity to make some preparations. If you know you won't be affected and would like to help those who are, sign up to join the Griffith team of mutual aid volunteers
1. Gather information
Use the advance warning to find out how you might be affected, and what supports are available to you. The QLD Government has a useful webpage on how hot weather and heatwaves may affect you.
If you have been previously affected by weather disaster events and are feeling emotionally distressed, you can reach out to the Mental Health Triage number (1300 642 255) to access public mental health services.
Things to check:
- Register for the Bureau of Meteorology Weather app to receive warnings for upcoming weather events
- Understand the risk that might be posed to your health in a heatwave event
- Check in with any friends or neighbours who may be at risk, and see if you can help each other prepare.
- Register for the Brisbane Severe Weather Alert service
- If you have pets, read up on tips for caring for animals during summer
- If you or your friends and family have a disability, check out this emergency preparedness resource written by Queenslanders with Disability Network
2. Get Prepared
- If you have a medical condition, seek advice from your doctor on how to handle the heat
- Think of simple ways to make your home cooler, such as installing curtains, installing shade cloth to the outside of the building or grabbing some extra fans
- If you have an air conditioner, try to get it serviced before the beginning of summer
3. Plan Ahead
Keep out of the heat as much as possible
- Plan your day to keep activity to a minimum in the hottest part of the day
- If you can, avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day
- Avoid strenuous activities like gardening and exercising
- Never leave children, adults or animals in parked cars
Seek out cool spaces
- Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home. Block out the sun during the day and keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside
- Use fans and air-conditioners at home to keep cool, or spend time elsewhere in air-conditioning
- If home is too hot for comfort, try to visit one of our air-conditioned community libraries or public pools.
- With the cost of living crisis and poorly insulated and maintained houses, keeping cook at home can be a real challenge. Recently I wrote to Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner to request that, all council libraries opening hours are extended to cover at least the hottest parts of the day in summer, and from 8am-6pm seven days a week for the duration of heatwave events. You can read my letter here.