Heatwave Help Website designed to beat killer summer

Published on 18 November 2015

A practical website has been developed to help central Victorian residents prepare themselves and their homes to beat extreme heat during the summer months.

Several neighbouring councils including Loddon Shire Council, The City of Greater Bendigo, Mount Alexander Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Buloke Shire and Central Goldfields Shire partnered to develop the Heatwave Help Website.

Loddon Shire Council Mayor Gavan Holt said heatwaves which were increasing in frequency and severity throughout Australia, presented a serious health threat and in the most extreme cases could be fatal.

“This website is a joint response to our changing environment and was funded by the Adapting to Change – climate change adaption project, in partnership with the Victorian Government and the six local government areas.

“While all people can be affected by heatwaves, without a doubt the most vulnerable group is the elderly,” Cr Holt said.

“It’s important that the elderly, in particular, are aware of the dangers associated with extreme heat and are able to readily source information which will help keep themselves and their homes cool.”

Loddon Shire Council Mayor Gavan Holt said he would also encourage family, friends and neighbours to help those most at risk to access or action information contained on the new website, which contained a host of useful tips about keeping cool during the summer months.

“Suggestions for keeping yourself cool include drinking water, dressing for the weather, going somewhere cool, staying in the shade, reducing physical activity, looking after your pets, going shopping before it gets too hot and calling 000 when you’re not feeling well,” Cr Holt said.

Cr Holt said better managing the home environment also played an important part in maintaining health during heatwaves.

“Homes heat up for a number of reasons and these reasons may vary according to the direction your home faces,” he said.

“Simple things like keeping windows and blinds closed until it cools down outside, reducing drafts and zoning off areas can all make a big difference to helping keep you cool.”

Cr Holt said investing in small home improvements which would help keep the temperature down inside was also worth considering.

“Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat gain so making small improvements like putting external blinds on your sunniest windows, ensuring there are thick curtains on windows, taking the time to draught seal gaps and cracks and looking ahead to shade windows by planting trees will all make a difference.”

“The Heatwave Action website gives great advice on how to beat the heat through simple home improvements and managing our health and living spaces.”

“If we focus on just one action associated with each general piece of advice it can help make a difference in ensuring we are comfortable during the hot summer months.”

Cr Holt said residents living within Loddon Shire Council often experienced very hot weather and Council’s health and wellbeing teams wanted to ensure everyone, especially our elderly and vulnerable, survive the harsh conditions.

“If you are not able to log onto the internet, find someone who can assist you and then make the changes you can,” he said.

The new Heatwave Help Website can be found at www.heatwavehelp.com.au.