Police and emergency services are reminding residents and visitors of NSW to take care of themselves and each other as warmer temperatures are predicted to extend throughout the weekend.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted low-intensity heatwave conditions across much of the state this weekend (Saturday 18 March 2023 and Sunday 19 March 2023).
State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Emergency Management Peter Thurtell, said looking after your health and that of others is extra important in the heat.
“While warmer weather may not concern some people, the heat can be especially dangerous for more vulnerable members of the community, including babies and children, older people, or those living with an illness,” Deputy Commissioner Thurtell said.
“If you know someone who may need assistance – particularly if they live alone or are socially-isolated – check-in on them this weekend and make sure they are doing okay and have what they need.
“You can find more information and advice on how to Beat the Heat on the NSW Health website.”
Important Beat the Heat advice includes:
• Keep cool
• Stay hydrated
• Keep your home cool
• Seek out the cool
• Take care of others
• Keep food safe
• Monitor health after the heat has passed
• Reduce exposure to high heat and smoke
Livestock and pet owners are also urged to look out for animal health by ensuring adequate clean water is always available and that shading is provided where possible. Additionally, no animals should be left in confined, unventilated areas.
The RSPCA has a multitude of advice available online for reducing heat stress for animals: https://www.rspcansw.org.au/what-we-do/care-for-animals/pet-hazards/heat-stress.
Deputy Commissioner Thurtell reminded motorists that it is never okay to leave children, the elderly, or pets unattended in a vehicle.
“This might seem like simple advice, but you should never leave someone unattended in a vehicle. It’s worse than dangerous and irresponsible – it can be deadly,” Deputy Commissioner Thurtell said.
“There are significant penalties for leaving children and young persons unsupervised in a motor vehicle, with a maximum fine of $22,000. In the event of injury or death, you’d likely expect a period of imprisonment.”
While it is advised to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, large crowds are still expected to make their way to beaches, rivers, lakes, and swimming pools across NSW this weekend.
“Every year, thousands of people are rescued from the surf and many needlessly drown, so I implore everyone to only swim at patrolled beaches and listen to the directions and advice of surf lifesavers,” Deputy Commissioner Thurtell said.
“For all other waterways, special care should be taken when swimming as submerged items may pose elevated and/or unexpected risks.”
Skippers are reminded they are responsible for the safety of all on board their vessel, and they should expect to be stopped by officers from Marine Area Command or NSW Maritime for safety compliance checks, as well as random breath tests.
Further, police will be patrolling on and around waterways to ensure jet ski riders are enjoying the sport safely, as dangerous riding and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
Deputy Commissioner Thurtell added that the current conditions are tough for NSW Rural Fire Service crews, who are already battling numerous blazes.
“Obviously, high temperatures increase the risk of fires, and make conditions more dangerous where fires are already burning, so we urge the community to be fire aware,” Deputy Commissioner Thurtell said.
“If you live in or are visiting a fire-prone area, ensure you stay up to date on fire conditions, and consider the risk of your actions in relation to the fire danger of the day.
“For areas where a total fire ban has been issued, you must know and comply with your responsibilities as significant penalties apply. We encourage people to report dangerous or reckless behaviour.
“Further, if you have suspicions about people who may be involved in deliberately lighting fires, contact your local police or Crime Stoppers.
“In the event of an emergency or life-threatening event, call Triple Zero (000).”
Lighting a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban attracts an on the spot fine of $2200. If the matter goes to court, you could be subject to a fine of up to $5500 and/or 12 months in prison.
Penalties for a fire that escapes and damages or destroys life, property or the environment can attract much greater fines and gaol terms with maximums at $132,000 and/or 14 years in prison.
More bushfire preparedness advice – including creating your own bushfire survival plan – and up-to-the-minute warnings are available on the NSW RFS website: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au