Prepare the home for heat this summer

Prepare the home for heat this summer

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) president Barry Calvert said when thinking about emergency planning, people often think about fire, flood or storms.

"However heat is equally dangerous to our health should be planned for," he said.

"While it may seem a cold and drizzly start to summer, it is highly likely that we have some extreme heat days ahead.

"Preparing for heat is about more than just access to air-conditioning or fans."

Getting your air-conditioner serviced at the start of summer will ensure it is working efficiently when you need it most.

Getting your air-conditioner serviced at the start of summer will ensure it is working efficiently when you need it most.

WSROC has produced a summer checklist for residents to follow. It includes:

  • 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 work well. This includes fridges, fans and air-conditioners. Don't wait until the middle of a heatwave.
  • 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 service. 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.

Mr Calvert said heat can have "wide-ranging impacts".

"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," he said.

"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 additional factors to consider that are best discussed with your doctor.

"WSROC has been working with councils, local health districts and the Australian Red Cross to help communities prepare for heatwave events, including a range of resources to step households through heatwave planning."

Meanwhile,NSW emergency service agencies are urging residents to prepare a bushfire survival plan, don't drive through floodwater, swim between the flags and make sure your home is fire safe this summer.

Communities are urged to follow the following five steps:

  1. Know your risk: think about the area you're in and the types of disasters that could affect you.
  2. Plan now for what you will do: talk with your family and plan for what you will do if a disaster affects your area or where you plan to holiday this summer.
  3. Get your home ready: prepare your home by doing general home maintenance and checking your insurance coverage.
  4. Be aware - find out how to prepare, what to do if there is a disaster in your area or where you intend to holiday this summer and connect with emergency services or keep on top of local news reports to stay informed.
  5. Look out for each other - share information with your family, friends and neighbours.

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said over the past few years, the NSW community has been hit hard, by fire, flood and even a pandemic.

"But these aren't the only threats we face," he said.

"I would urge everyone to use the start of summer to start a conversation with your friends and families about being prepared for other seasonal natural disasters, including heatwaves, storms, boating and other water accidents."

This story Prepare the home for heat this summer first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.