The government has launched a new campaign to help Victorians prepare for, and survive, a hot and potentially deadly summer.
The new Survive the Heat campaign raises awareness about the seriousness of extreme heat, and shares important tips on how to stay safe in the dangerous summer sun. Extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any other natural disaster, an official press release said on Dec 27.
Those at the highest risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include people aged over 65, those with a pre-existing medical condition, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children.
During the 2014 heatwave the number of deaths increased by 167. In January 2014, when heat hit 44 degrees, paramedics faced a 700 per cent increase in call outs for cardiac arrests in one day.
The Labor Government’s new campaign urges all Victorians to take heatwaves seriously – as they would any other natural disaster such as bushfires – and get prepared.
The campaign focuses on simple steps everyone can take to stay safe during heatwaves, including:
- Drinking more water by taking small sips from a drink bottle throughout the day
- Keeping cool and seeking out air-conditioned buildings
- Planning ahead and scheduling activities in the coolest part of the day
- Looking out for most vulnerable – this might be your neighbour living alone or the elderly.
Also running this year will be the Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign that warns parents about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. In the last year, paramedics responded to 1,696 calls to people ‘locked in vehicles’ – the majority being children aged under 13.
Acting Minister for Health and Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said, “November was the second warmest on record in Victoria and we’re expecting above average temperatures for summer. Taking hot days seriously will save lives. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect anyone, but isolated elderly people are especially at risk. That’s why we need to look out for one another and check on your neighbours.
“Victorians should follow simple steps to stay safe this summer. Leaving children in hot cars can kill. There are no excuses and no exceptions.”