A Sun-Smart Summer: How to Go From Scorching to Soothing
Why Prepare For The Summer Season In Australia
Preparing for summer months in Australia is important for several reasons:
Australia experiences hot and often scorching temperatures during the summer months. This can lead to heatwaves, which pose significant health risks, especially to vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions. Adequate preparation helps ensure that people can stay safe and healthy in such conditions.
BUSHFIRES: Australia is prone to bushfires during the summer, and these fires can have devastating consequences, including loss of life, property, and wildlife. Preparing for the summer season includes taking steps to reduce the risk of bushfires, such as clearing vegetation, having evacuation plans, and staying informed about fire danger levels.
The southern hemisphere’s summer months correspond to the peak of the sun’s intensity, leading to a higher risk of sunburn and skin damage. Preparing for summer in Australia involves adopting sun-safe practices, such as wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and hats, and seeking shade when outdoors.
Australia often experiences drought conditions during the summer months, and water resources can become scarce. Preparing for summer includes conserving water, using it efficiently, and adhering to water restrictions if they are in place to ensure that the supply is sustainable.
ELECTRICAL AND FIRE SAFETY:
Increased use of air conditioning, fans, and electrical appliances during the summer can strain electrical systems, potentially leading to power outages or electrical fires. It’s essential to prepare by ensuring that electrical systems are safe, having backup power sources, and being cautious with electrical equipment.
Many Australians look forward to outdoor activities, vacations, and gatherings during the summer. Preparation may involve planning and organising these events, making travel arrangements, and ensuring that the necessary supplies and accommodations are in place.
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HEALTH AND WELL-BEING:
Preparing for summer can also involve taking care of your physical and mental health. Staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress during the summer months can help ensure a more enjoyable and healthier season.
The warm weather can lead to increased insect and pest activity. Being prepared includes taking measures to control pests, such as using insect repellent and keeping homes and outdoor spaces pest-free.
Pets can also be affected by the heat, so preparing for summer involves ensuring that pets have access to shade, water, and protection from the heat, and are not left in hot cars.
Summer can put stress on Australia’s unique ecosystems. Being mindful of environmental impacts, such as not littering, not starting fires, and following park and beach rules, is an important part of preparing for the summer season.
Prepping Your Home In Australia This Summer
SERVICE YOUR AIR CONDITIONING:
Have your air conditioning system serviced to ensure it’s in good working condition. Clean or replace air filters, check for any issues, and consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit if needed.
SEAL LEAKS AND INSULATE:
Inspect doors and windows for leaks and gaps. Seal any gaps with weather stripping or caulking to keep hot air out and cool air in. Ensure your home is well-insulated to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
INSTALL WINDOW COVERINGS:
GARDEN AND LANDSCAPING:
Trim trees and shrubs near your home to provide shade and reduce heat absorption. Consider planting drought-resistant plants to conserve water.
USE CEILING FANS:
CHECK ROOF AND GUTTERS:
Ensure your roof is in good condition to prevent leaks and overheating. Clean out gutters to avoid water damage and fire risks in case of bushfires.
Keep your home pest-free by sealing gaps, cleaning up food crumbs, and using pest control measures. Summer can bring an increase in insects and rodents.
If you have a pool, make sure it’s properly maintained and cleaned. Pools can be a source of cooling during the summer, but they also require care.
Given the bushfire risk in some regions, make sure your home is prepared for fire safety. Clear any flammable materials from around your home, maintain a firebreak, and have firefighting equipment on hand.
Keep up with weather forecasts and any heatwave alerts. Stay informed about any local restrictions, fire danger levels, or other safety advisories.
Be mindful of water usage during the summer, as drought conditions can be prevalent. Fix any leaks and use water-saving practices.
Consider installing energy-efficient appliances and lighting to reduce energy costs. Use programmable thermostats to manage your cooling system efficiently.
PREPARE FOR OUTAGES:
Have backup power sources like a generator or solar power system in case of power outages.
With more people going on vacation during the summer, make sure your home security is in order. Lock doors and windows, and consider using timers for lights to give the appearance that someone is home.
Summer Emergency Preparedness in Australia
Here are some emergency preparedness tips for the Australian summer:
- Stay informed about bushfire danger ratings and local fire bans.
- Create a Bushfire Survival Plan that includes evacuation routes and meeting points.
- Prepare an emergency kit with essential supplies, including water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights, and batteries.
- Maintain your property by clearing flammable materials and creating a firebreak.
- Have firefighting equipment, like hoses and pumps, ready.
- Follow evacuation orders and stay updated on fire developments.
- Stay informed about heatwave alerts and warnings.
- Stay hydrated and avoid outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.
- Use fans or air conditioning to stay cool.
- Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they are safe.
- Be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Secure outdoor items that could become projectiles in strong winds.
- Trim tree branches that could pose a threat during a storm.
- Create a family emergency plan and discuss it with all household members.
- Prepare an emergency kit with essential supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio.
- Charge your mobile devices and have a backup power source available.
- Stay informed about cyclone warnings and evacuation orders.
- Prepare an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least three days, including water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, and personal documents.
- Secure your home by boarding up windows, tying down loose objects, and reinforcing doors.
- Know your evacuation routes and plan where you will go in case of a cyclone.
- Have a communication plan to stay in touch with family members.
- Be aware of flood-prone areas in your region.
- Elevate valuable items and electrical appliances in your home.
- Prepare an emergency kit with water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights, and batteries.
- Follow advice from local authorities and evacuate if necessary.
- Do not attempt to drive through floodwaters, as it’s extremely dangerous.
COMMUNICATION AND ALERTS
- Sign up for emergency alerts and warnings through official channels, such as the Bureau of Meteorology and your local government.
- Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities and family members.
- Designate a family meeting point and discuss your emergency plan.
- If travelling during the summer, check weather forecasts and road conditions.
- Have an emergency kit and necessary supplies in your vehicle.
- Inform someone of your travel plans and expected return time.
MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND MEDICATIONS
- If you or a family member rely on medication, ensure you have an adequate supply and keep it in your emergency kit.
- For specific medical needs, consider creating a personal emergency plan that addresses those needs.
Your Summer Mobile App Besties
The app is provided by the Bureau of Meteorology and helps users to stay informed about severe weather and natural hazards occurring in their area. It provides alerts on severe weather, such as floods, cyclone warnings, and thunderstorms, as well as bushfires and wildfires in Australia. Users can view information on severity levels, wind speeds, and radii for each hazard. The app also allows users to receive push notifications and email alerts.
2. Emergency+ App:
This app was developed by Australia’s emergency services and provides information on nearby hazards and incidents. With this, you can get quick and easy access to emergency services such as the police, firefighters, and ambulances. It was designed to save time during an emergency by allowing users to quickly request help with just a few taps on their phone.
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3. Fires Near Me:
This app was developed by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. It provides bushfire information, including live fire danger ratings, fire incidents, and notifications about fire alerts.You can refine your search further by adding specific locations or dates. The search may also provide information on fire danger ratings, evacuation orders, and firefighting efforts.
4. Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Weather App:
While primarily a weather app, it includes alerts and warnings for severe weather events such as storms, cyclones, and floods, which can help users stay informed about potential hazards. Some of the key features of the BOM Weather App include radar imagery, severe weather alerts, and the ability to track weather conditions for specific locations.
5. Red Cross Emergency App:
This app offers emergency preparedness information, including alerts for disasters and emergencies. The app allows users to send and receive emergency alerts and updates, make donations, connect with friends and family, and access helpful resources during natural disasters, bushfires, and other emergencies. It also provides first aid instructions and emergency contact numbers.
6. Emergency AUS App:
Developed by the Australian Government, this app provides access to official warnings and alerts for various hazards, including severe weather, bushfires, floods, terrorist threats, and other potential emergencies. With the help of the app, users can stay informed and be prepared for any emergency situation. It also includes resources to help users find shelter, food, and other necessary supplies during an emergency.
Please note that the availability and specific features of these apps may vary. It’s always recommended to check the respective app stores or official websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Getting ready for summer in Australia is essential for various reasons, including safeguarding against extreme heat, bushfires, sunburn, water shortages, electrical and fire hazards, and more. Preparing your home and practising family safety tips during the sunny summer months can help ensure a comfortable and secure experience. Additionally, anticipating potential emergencies, such as bushfires, heatwaves, storms, and cyclones, is crucial for the safety and well-being of your family. Utilising mobile apps and staying informed through official channels can be valuable tools in staying updated on hazard alerts and emergency information. With the right preparations and awareness, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer in Australia.