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It's going to be a hot Christmas

POSTED: 
23 December 2016

The weather is warming up and Victoria can expect to reach high 30s to mid 40s on Christmas Day, right across the state.

A Heat Health Alert has been issued today for Sunday 25 December in the Central, Mallee, Northern Country, North Central and Wimmera Regions, urging Victorians to be prepared for the hot weather.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said heat has significant impacts on communities. Across the holiday period this is amplified for the vulnerable and those people living alone, who may need extra assistance at this time of year.

“This is the first long spell of hot weather we have experienced this summer, so it is important Victorians are prepared and they take measures to look after themselves, their loved ones and check in on neighbours and friends to ensure they are coping with the hot weather,” said Mr Lapsley.

“The emergency and energy sectors are prepared and monitoring, we are ready for the hot weather, so it is important that Victorians are as well.”

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Professor Charles Guest said that more than 374 people died from extreme heat in the first five weeks of 2009. Nearly 170 died in the 2014 heatwave, and 436 were hospitalised for heat related conditions that summer. 

“We know extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any other natural disaster. It really is a silent killer,” said Professor Guest.

"People at highest risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include people aged over 65, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children, people with disabilities, people with medical conditions and people who work outdoors."

During heatwaves Victorians should:

  • Drink more water, around two litres a day
  • Keep cool and seek out air conditioned buildings or cars
  • Plan ahead and schedule activities in the coolest part of the day
  • Check in on others, especially older people, young children and people with a medical condition.

State Health Commander Paul Holman urged Victorians to be prepared by making sure they were hydrated and looking out for their friends and family who may be vulnerable in the heat.

‘It’s a very busy time of year and we’re all looking forward to the festivities, but make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water,’ Mr Holman said.

Mr Holman also reminded people to never leave a child in a car.

‘Being left in a hot car can quickly become life threatening for babies and young children as they can’t regulate their body temperature like adults can,’ he said.

‘It doesn’t have to be a scorching hot day for the car to quickly heat up. Tests by Ambulance Victoria found that even on a 29-degree day the inside of a car can reach 44 degrees within 10 minutes and hit 60 degrees within 20 minutes.

‘You wouldn’t get out of the car after shopping and leave your ice cream in the back seat, so why would you leave your children there?’

For more information visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare. Call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 or see your doctor if you are unwell. In an emergency, call 000.