Staying Safe During Heat Waves

In our heads, the word ‘Summer’ may bring up images of beaches, sunshine and blues skies - but with this season also comes humidity and heatwaves among other things. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and cool in a heatwave, and things you can do to prevent fires.

Heatwave Safety

  • Stay hydrated – this seems like such an obvious one but it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Try and avoid caffeine and alcohol, but go for gold with water! Make sure that your pets have fresh, clean water on hand at all times too.
  • Eat smaller meals more often – an empty stomach can lead to fainting, weakness, and having no energy. That paired with the scorching sun? Not ideal. So eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
  • Choose the right clothing – dressing for the summer season can already be especially tricky if you work in an office! Make sure you choose loose fitting clothes made from lightweight fabrics. Light coloured clothes work best too as dark colours tend to absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Don’t leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles – even if you’re just running a quick errand, never leave your children or pets alone in the car as temperatures inside can rise quickly.
  • If possible - stay in well-ventilated places like local libraries, malls, or theatres.
  • Slip, slop, slap and wrap - slip on a shirt and slip into the shade; slop on some sunscreen; slap on a hat and wrap on some sunglasses.

Fire Safety

Hot and dry weather increases the risk of scrub fires – as we know from the Port Hills and Wanaka fires, these can damage properties, the environment and can hurt people. It’s important to take a few proactive steps now to reduce the risk of fires, and to keep an eye out for signs of a fire.

  • Avoid all outdoor activities that generate heat or sparks such as:
    • Open fires
    • Arc welding
    • Grinding
    • Operating machinery with worn bearings or unguarded exhausts
  • Remove dead plants, debris and waste materials from your property – recycle, compost or mulch where possible – do not burn.
  • Mow lawns and paddocks in the early morning after a cool night, and water to stay green if your council hasn’t got water restrictions in place.
  • Clear burnable materials around your home, livestock and other farm buildings.
  • Clean leaves and other debris from rain gutters and drain pipes.
  • Make sure your RAPID or street number is clearly visible so that emergency services can locate your property – if your RAPID number needs replacing, contact your local council.

If you notice a fire, smoke or something suspicious call 111 immediately and let the fire service know.