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Media Releases

Heat health, water safety and sharks

7 January 2017

The hot weather is expected to stay around this weekend, with a warm Saturday night predicted.

Heat Health Alerts have been issued today for Central, North Central, Northern Country and Mallee Regions.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the hot weather has pushed some regions into Very High Fire Danger ratings, however the lack of wind has meant no Total Fire Bans have been declared.

“Heat is one of the biggest impacts on our communities,” said Mr Lapsley.

“Victorian’s need to ensure they take care of themselves in this hot weather, checking on loved ones, friends and neighbours to ensure they are coping.”

State Health Commander Paul Holman urged Victorians to be prepared by making sure they were hydrated, watched their alcohol intake and exercise exertion in the heat.

‘We have already responded to a number of heat related incidents,’ Mr Holman said.

“It’s going to remain hot overnight, so make sure you stay hydrated and remember to never leave a child or pet in a car.”

With the hot weather pushing people to find refuge in cool water, Life Saving Victoria’s CEO Nigel Taylor, is urging Victorians to stay safe around water, whether it be in a backyard pool, inland waterway or at the beach.

“Victorians need to remember that all beaches and waterways can be dangerous,” said Mr Taylor.

“We are urging all Victorians to never take their eyes of children around water, 20 seconds is all it takes.

“If visiting inland waterways, it’s vital to familiarise yourself with the area and environment by speaking to locals, reading and understanding safety signs and ensuring you know the safest place to boat or swim.

“If you’re on the water in a boat or vessel you are required to wear a life-jacket at all times.

“Always ensure you swim at a patrolled beach and stay aware and prepared for the conditions. This includes water quality, beach closures and shark sightings that are now reported onto VicEmergency website and app.”

There has been an increase in shark sightings in the past two weeks, after more than 30 sharks were seen off the Victorian coastline on Boxing Day.

Fisheries Victoria Executive Director Travis Dowling said sharks are being sighted more often this year than in previous years.

“We are asking Victorians to keep up to date with the reported shark sightings on VicEmergency, and take heed of warnings, regardless of the type of shark,” said Mr Dowling.

“We have seen a majority of bronze whaler sharks, but also a few great white sharks, so Victorians should not be complacent about the warnings.”

Life Saving Victoria helicopters will continue to patrol beaches for sharks across the summer period, while beach-goers are being asked to stay focused and exercise caution when swimming. Two Westpac Life Saving Victoria helicopters will be supported by Firebird 300 this summer.

If the shark spotting helicopters are hovering and sounding a siren, swimmers are urged to evacuate the water until the shark has passed.

For emergency information, Victorians are reminded to visit, download the new VicEmergency app, phone the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226, listen to local ABC radio, SKY news and keep an eye on social media.