Staying safe during heatwaves


Heatwaves are becoming more frequent, are lasting longer, and their intensity can be life threatening for older Queenslanders. In fact, heatwaves are actually deadlier - especially for older people - than any other natural disaster in Australia.

As we age, our bodies cannot regulate our temperature as efficiently, meaning it’s much easier to overheat and become seriously dehydrated.

Be prepared for heatwaves

There are lots of easy ways to safeguard yourself and your loved ones and keep cool this summer. Use these simple tips to stay cool, safe and reduce the impact of a heatwave.

Plan ahead and stay connected
Keep cool
Stay hydrated and safe

Hear how heat and humidity risks health

Part 1 - Claire's warning: Heat, humidity and health

Part 2 - Martin’s story: Why does age increase heat risk?

Plan ahead and stay connected

During extreme weather the Queensland community look out for one another. This connection is just as important during a heatwave.

Queensland is experiencing increases in the frequency and duration of heatwaves. It’s vital to be prepared before the heat hits and understand how to stay cool and healthy.

Helpful tips to prepare for heat to stay safe and connected:

  • Check weather forecasts and stay up-to-date with weather warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology Heatwave Service.
  • Know who you will call for help.
  • Plan where you can go to stay cool – you can go to public spaces like libraries and shopping centres. Know who you can call for help getting there if you need transport.
  • Talk to your GP about managing the heat, especially if you have a medical condition, take medication regularly or have fluid intake restrictions.
  • Have an emergency plan if blackouts occur.

Read more about preparing for a heatwave, including preparing your emergency kit.

Keep cool

There are a variety of factors that determine your home's ability to be naturally cool. There are small things you can do to keep your home cooler during a heatwave.

Helpful tips to making your home cool:

  • Block out the sun with curtains or blinds.
  • Use fans and air-conditioners to create cool rooms.
  • Plan your day to keep activity to a minimum, if possible.
  • Avoid outdoor activities from 11am – 3pm.
  • Be sun smart and wear light, loose clothing.

Read more about creating a cool home.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water regularly and staying well nourished is vital and easy to overlook for older Queenslanders.

Helpful tips to stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water during regular intervals.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid liquids high in sugar and caffeine.
  • Regularly check your urine colour to assess your level of hydration.

Read more about staying hydrated.

Be food safe

Keeping your food safe is always important, but especially in hot weather and extreme heat. This is because bacteria grows more quickly on food in hot conditions, increasing your risk of food poisoning.

Helpful tips to stay food safe:

  • Keep fridge temperature below 5°C.
  • Thaw and marinate meat in the fridge (not on the bench).
  • Put leftovers in the fridge quickly, once cooled.
  • Dispose of food left out for over 2 hours.
  • Use a cooler bag when buying groceries.
  • If in doubt, throw it out.

More information about Heat Safety

If you need medical advice during the heat, call 13 HEALTH (13 432 584) or in the case of an emergency, always call triple zero (000).

Working together to take climate action

Queensland Government logo

BlueCare’s heat health resources were funded by the Queensland Government under the Sector Adaptation Plan co-investment program, to advance climate change resilience in the human health and wellbeing sector. This is another example of how the Queensland Government's Climate Action Plan is making a difference.

Griffith University logo

BlueCare extends thanks to Griffith University for their partnership and extensive work to improve heat health awareness and resilience in Queensland, particularly for older persons. Learn more about Griffith University’s Extreme Heat and Older Persons (EtHOS) Project.

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