Monday, 09 December 2019 12:22

WSROC warns residents: Take heat seriously Featured

Aerial view of Western Sydney housing affected by heatwave Aerial view of Western Sydney housing affected by heatwave
Media release, 5 December 2019
WSROC has called on Western Sydney residents to get ready to handle more heat, as we enter the first week of a hotly-anticipated summer.

With last month the hottest November on record for Greater Sydney, there is a general sense of apprehension around just how hot it may get in Western Sydney, exacerbated by urban heat island effect

and an accelerated bushfire season.

WSROC President, Clr Barry Calvert, expressed concern around residents’ level of preparedness for extreme heat events, questioning whether heat-defence and health-saving measures are widely taken up.

“Summer’s arrival this year comes amid higher than anticipated temperatures and extreme weather events. This is already impacting community health and resources in Western Sydney and we want residents

to be prepared,” said Clr Calvert.

“Where people can go in extreme heat, how they behave and what they do to keep safe is, increasingly, a matter for concern.

“While vulnerable community members, such as the elderly, young or unwell, are particularly at risk, heat does not discriminate. The impact on health and the increasing costs of keeping cool present

serious challenges to our region, with

recent studies showing that communities in Western Sydney are experiencing extreme heat even more frequently than was previously known.[1]

“Councils are working on ways to meet extreme heat, but there are precautions people in the community can take to ensure they are ready when extreme heat strikes,” said Clr Calvert.

“Heat-defensive actions can include personal measures, such as ensuring you drink enough water and dressing for the weather, as well as taking some practical steps to prepare your home. Simple steps such as

closing blinds early and checking seals around windows and doors will help keep out heat.

“Air-conditioning is an important tool for staying safe during heatwaves but can be expensive to run. Save energy by setting your unit between 22 and 25 degrees, ensure doors and windows are well sealed,

close off rooms that aren’t in use, and make the most of cool changes; using fans and open windows to ventilate your home and keep cooling costs down.

As Western Sydney braces for another summer of extremes, councils in the region continue to collaborate on urban heat mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

Councils in the region are currently working on projects as diverse as increasing green cover (Blacktown Council’s Cool Streets project); integrating cool materials into planning controls

(City of Parramatta’s development controls for high-rise buildings),and improving emergency response (Hawkesbury City Council’s Disaster and Emergency Dashboard).

Since its launch in 2018, WSROC’s Turn Down the Heat Strategy and Action Plan is now regarded as a benchmark for tackling the urgency of urban heat with a widely referenced, collaborative

approach.

Several Turn Down the Heat projects will also be implemented in 2020, including Cool Suburbs; the development of a tool that gives a ‘cool rating’ to a place, based on the level of heat mitigation

and adaptation in place.

“WSROC continues to work with state government and local councils to ensure heat is recognised as a priority in urban planning, and that new developments incorporate heat-efficient building materials, green cover and water sensitive design, to shore up resilience for our future communities,” Clr Calvert said.

TIPS FOR TACKLING HEAT HEAD-ON

Take care of yourself and others

  • Anticipate heat events. Check the weather and adjust behaviour to meet heat
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, try to visit somewhere that does such as your local library or leisure centre
  • Placing wet towels on your neck and arms can help keep you cool
  • Check in with vulnerable family members, neighbours and community members, or register with a check-in service such as the Red Cross’ Telecross
  • Check with your local council on options for cool places and ways to beat the heat in your area

Heat proof your home

  • Close windows and blinds early in the day to help prevent your home heating up
  • Check the seals around all doors and windows to make sure that hot air can’t get in
  • Turn off any appliances that are not in use – they emit extra heat
  • Check ceiling fans for a seasonal mode switch, to get the most out of airflow settings
  • Install shade cloths outside can keep heat from getting into your home

Watch the costs

  • Don’t fall into the trap of setting the air-conditioner to the lowest possible temperature. This makes the unit work extra hard and consumes more energy, for small or no gain
  • The recommended temperature setting is between 22 and 25 degrees in summer
  • Every degree you lower the air conditioning can add 10 per cent to the cost of running it
  • Make the most of cool changes, use fans and open windows to cool and ventilate your home keeping cooling costs down

 

Note: If you are concerned about someone who is frail, housebound, disabled or recovering from injury, Red Cross’ Telecross register may be available as a means of maintaining connectedness and checking in during episodes of emergency such as extreme heat. Available through the NDIS and My Aged care – enquire for eligibility here https://www.redcross.org.au/get-help/community-services/telecross

WSROC Turn Down the Heat Strategy and Action Plan: https://wsroc.com.au/projects/project-turn-down-the-heat/turn-down-the-heat-resources

[ENDS]

Media contact: Kate O’Connell t: 02 9671 4333  e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

[1]https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/newscentre/news_centre/more_news_stories/first_western_sydney_microclimate_maps_reveal_extent_of_heat_variation_in_region

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:12

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