Heatwave Information

A heatwave is an extended period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather.

During the 20th century, heatwaves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. With global warming resulting in rising temperatures and common extreme weather circumstances, heatwaves have become a part of life in Australia.


SES - Heatwave Community Engagement - Enfield Unit at Bunnings - Duty Manager


Enfield SES Unit Volunteer Operations Response Manager, Fred thanks Parafields Bunnings Duty Manager for allowing the SES to engage with customers in providing advice and guidance on how to stay safe in the heat - 1 February 2014


SES - Heatwave Community Engagement - Enfield Unit at Bunnings - Stuart


Edinburgh SES Unit Volunteer, Stuart hands out information to member of the community 


Are you prepared for the extreme heat?

Heatwaves can have a detrimental impact on communities. They affect many parts of everyday life such as health and wellbeing, energy and infrastructure, public transport and agriculture. They can also contribute to an increased fire risk and heat stressed trees, which pose a significant threat to public safety.

To learn more about how you can prepare for and reduce the impact of extreme heat see the tips below.

Who is most at risk?

The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. Those at serious risk include:

  • Elderly people
  • Babies and young children
  • People with serious mental health problems
  • People on certain medication
  • People with serious chronic conditions (particularly breathing or heart problems)
  • People who already have a high temperature
  • People with mobility problems
  • People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
  • People who are physically active, such as manual workers and sportspeople.
Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated
You should drink two to three litres of water a day even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid 'fizzy', alcoholic and caffeinated drinks and do not take salt tablets (unless instructed to by a GP).

Dress for summer

Dress for summer
Lightweight, light coloured clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain a normal temperature.

check risk Check on those at risk
Visit at risk individuals such as the sick and elderly at least twice a day and keep an eye on children. Watch for signs of heat-related illness.
Minimise sun exposure Minimise sun exposure
Keep out of the sun as much as possible. If you must be in the sun, wear a shirt, hat and sunglasses. Also make sure you wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, which limits the body's ability to cope with heat.
prepare your home Prepare your home
Prepare your home early. Service or replace your air conditioner BEFORE you need it. Curtains, awnings and blinds can also help to keep the home cool.
Make use of air conditioning Make use of air conditioning
If you don't have air conditioning, make use of public facilities such as shopping centres, art galleries, cinemas or other air conditioned buildings. Portable fans are also useful in drawing in cool air, or exhausting warm air from a room.
Remeber your pets Remember your pets
Pets can be particularly vulnerable to the heat. Make sure they have shade and plenty of cool water to last the day.
Seek medical advice Seek medical advice if necessary
For medical advice contact your local GP or telephone Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For immediate medical assistance telephone 000




SES - Heatwave Community Engagement - CEU Volunteer Adelaide Airport 12 February 2014


SES volunteer Chris provides valuable heatwave advice to arrivals at Adelaide airport 12 February 2014


SES - Heatwave Community Engagement - Enfield Unit at Bunnings


Deputy Chief Officer thanks volunteers for community engagement initiative. Members from left to right: Jeff, Stuart, DCO Dermot Barry, Nathan and Fred


Download a copy of the SES Heatwave Information Guide
This guide provides some simple steps to surviving a heatwave and also lists the signs of heat stress to look out for in yourself and others to ensure everyone's safety.

Further Information

Visit the Health website for further fact sheets about staying healthy in the heat in different languages.

Important heat related advice

Extreme Heat Plan