Adelaide swelters in 3-year worst heatwave: Code Red

With a predicted heatwave in coming days, a state-wide Code Red will be activated to support rough sleepers from 1pm Wednesday, February 22 until 9am Saturday, February 25.

This will be a Tier 2 activation that includes overnight accommodation.

Supports available in Adelaide on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday include:

  • The Westcare Centre, at 11/19 Millers Court in Adelaide, will be open for support and overnight accommodation from 1pm.
  • Hutt St Centre, at 258 Hutt Street in Adelaide, will open from 7am – 5pm.
  • Outreach services will be provided by the Toward Home Alliance and Adelaide North West Homelessness Alliance.

Specialist Homelessness Services will carry out daily outreach visits to people sleeping rough in the CBD, the Parklands and North Adelaide. During Code Red, the services will ensure people know where they can get shelter in the city and help them to access it.

Anyone who is homeless, or at risk of homelessness in other parts of South Australia is encouraged to contact Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003 308 for information about local supports and services.

Rough sleepers are encouraged to take the opportunity to stay cool and hydrated as temperatures rise.

In addition to Code Red, isolated, elderly and other vulnerable South Australians at risk from extreme heat are being urged to register for free welfare checks offered by Red Cross. The State Government has partnered with Australian Red Cross to deliver the Telecross REDi service.

In days of extreme heat, trained volunteers will call registered participants up to three times a day for a welfare check and where needed, will call an ambulance for anyone experiencing heat-related health issues.

Anyone who is isolated or at risk from extreme heat, or a representative on their behalf, can register for the free Telecross REDi service by phoning 1800 188 071 or emailing [email protected]

As well as the Code Red warning and Red Cross services, the South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) will continue to issue heatwave warnings as the control agency across the State.

SASES advises people to plan ahead and regularly check in with family and friends and vulnerable members in their community during the current heatwave.

People should visit to view the latest heatwave warnings.

As of 12pm Tuesday, SASES had issued six active heat wave warnings and this number could rise in the coming days.

SASES – Current warning list


Attributable to Nat Cook

For people sleeping rough, extreme weather poses a range of risks to health and safety. I encourage anyone who knows someone who is rough sleeping, or anyone who is rough sleeping to contact Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003.

We are lucky to live in a community that looks out for and supports the vulnerable, isolated and elderly.

This is the first significant heatwave in more than three years and it’s critical that people stay safe. Extreme heat during days is bad but, when it doesn’t cool down overnight, people’s bodies don’t get a chance to recover and they can be at risk.

I also urge those who live alone, and who experience circumstances that could create social isolation, to register for the free Telecross REDi service. This is a great service that ensures people registered are called by volunteers for a check-in.

Attributable to Joe Szakacs

Heatwaves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard.

South Australia has not been subject to a heatwave since 2019, so ensure you are prepared with a cool place to be indoors to stay out of the heat.

Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car – even if it’s just for a short time – especially during a heatwave.

I urge people to visit where they can access a host of information of how to prepare for heatwaves, tips on staying cool, keeping you and your family safe and identifying the early signs of heat-related illness, such as dehydration.

Ensure you check on those you know who may be vulnerable and isolated to make sure they’re safe and in a cool environment.

Attributable to SASES Chief of Staff Leanne Schmidt

It is important for people to check in regularly with family, friends and neighbours.

We probably haven’t seen this level of wide-spread, extreme heat in South Australia for at least a couple of years, so people may be unaccustomed and unprepared for the coming days.

It is important people make the time to prepare and take proactive action. It is very easy to become quickly dehydrated during successive days and nights of hot weather.

Those at greatest risk in our community included people with existing health conditions, the elderly and the very young.

Australian Red Cross tips for coping with the heat

  • Drink regularly: even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water is the best option. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary or fizzy drinks as they make dehydration worse.
  • Eat little and often: rather than large meals. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
  • Stay indoors: in the coolest rooms of your house or in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
  • Take cool showers and splash yourself with cold water several times a day, particularly your face and the back of your neck. A loose cotton damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can help you stay cool.
  • Air flow: make sure there is sufficient air circulation, either from an air conditioner or by leaving a secured window or door open.
  • Find the shade: if you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear hat and light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes, preferably made of natural fibres. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30+ to exposed skin. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.
  • Look out for your neighbours: if you know someone who might be susceptible to heat stress, stop by and make sure they know what to do to stay cool.

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