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Heatwaves are more than just hot weather. When it is hot during the day and it does not cool down at night, it is extremely hard for your body to cool itself down. The Bureau of Meteorology defines a heatwave as three or more days in a row when both daytime and night-time temperatures are unusually high — in relation to the local long-term climate and the recent past.

Incredibly, heatwaves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. Heatwaves bring risks to your health and wellbeing, and anyone can be affected. During a heatwave it is crucial that we keep an eye on our loved ones who have existing health conditions because they can become ill very quickly during heatwaves.

And it is also essential that children or pets are never left alone in a parked car (even if it is just for a brief time) - especially during a heatwave.

Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe and well during a heatwave:

  • Sleep in the coolest part of the house — it might not be your bedroom
  • Fill a small spray bottle with water — it is a terrific way to keep cool, especially for children
  • Add a slice of lemon and ice cubes to your water
  • Set your air conditioners to the cool setting
  • Register older family members for the Red Cross Telecross REDi service on 1800 188 071
  • Make sure pets have cool spots, shade and many bowls of iced water. Bring them inside during the hottest parts of the day

More information on heatwave prevention and community preparedness from the SES