This January we face a near record heatwave forming up across Australia. From Wednesday this week, Sydney CBD is expecting five consecutive days over 30 degrees and Sydney’s west will have a run of temperatures near or over 40 degrees. Similar and worse conditions will be felt in Adelaide, Perth and much of the inland with extremes in western New South Wales and northern South Australia.
If you live and work in a comfortable air-conditioned situation it is easy to regard such high temperatures as a meteorological curiosity, but the reality for many without it, times of high temperatures can mean sleeplessness, extreme discomfort and even a threat to life. Heatwaves take more lives in Australia than any other disaster including our bushfires.
Some useful resources
The following are links to some important resources around ways to understand and approach heatwaves.
ABC News has an excellent article on what to do before, during and after a heat wave.
Andrew Morris from Hope FM wrote an extensive article on practical tips to cope and survive a heat wave here.
The Bureau of Meteorology now forecasts heatwaves with easy to understand maps here.
A hot week ahead for NSW, with severe to extreme heatwave conditions forecast. Stay cool, keep hydrated, look out for the vulnerable and have a plan to #BeatTheHeat https://t.co/4QL1H3qOqn #NSWweather pic.twitter.com/etoSzi5SF3
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 13, 2019
There are a range of government plans to address heatwave which contain some helpful strategies. Some examples are the Victorian Government Heatwave Plan which has some particularly useful material about care of people in aged care here the NSW Heatwave SubPlan and the Queensland Heatwave Response Plan.
In February 2017 I wrote a blog to assist churches in providing pastoral care ahead of and during heatwave. This has a number of recommendations relating to churches taking the threat of heatwaves and care of the most vulnerable people (elderly, infants and those with disabilities or health issues). Please pass this on through church networks to get the word out in terms of practical pastoral care.
As it heats up this week, take time to think and plan ahead and take care of those most vulnerable in your neighbourhood and community.