Whole of Government Public Information:Extreme and severe heatwave for NSW

The state’s Heatwave Sub Plan has been activated following the prediction of heatwave conditions across NSW this week, with temperatures predicted to reach 40 degrees in Sydney – higher in other areas.

It is recognised that heatwaves have an impact on multiple facets of public safety, including health, animal welfare, energy infrastructure, roads and transport, as well as increased risk of fire.

The activation of the Heatwave Sub Plan allows certain government agencies to ensure increased coordination in emergency management.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting temperatures will peak on Saturday (21 December 2019), with Sydney CBD expected to reach the mid-30s, while Western Sydney and many parts of inland Regional NSW will experience temperatures in the low to mid 40s.

Further, the Bureau of Meteorology has advised that the smoke in eastern NSW will gradually clear with the southerly change, but some inland areas may see an increase in smoke due to south-easterly winds.

For updated weather forecasts and warnings visit: www.bom.gov.au.

Saturday is expected to be a busy day throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area with Christmas shopping, beach travel and Carols in the Domain, and it is also expected many people may set off for their Christmas/school holidays.

We are asking the public to adhere to heat messages, keep their cool, and look out for each other.

The following message details important whole-of-government information for the people of NSW.

Rural Fire Service:

We continue to face an unprecedented level of bush fire danger. An extreme fire danger rating has been issued for the Greater Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges areas. All other areas are rated at high, very high or severe levels.

Any fire that starts and takes hold will threaten lives and homes.

A Total Fire Ban is in place for the whole of the state.

Stay up to date on fires in your area. People are urged to download the ‘Fires Near Me’ app: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

Under these conditions, some fires may start and spread so quickly there is little time for a warning, so do not wait and see.

There are simply not enough fire trucks for every house. If you call for help, you may not get it.

Do not expect a firetruck. Do not expect a knock on the door. Do not expect a phone call.

Start taking action now to reduce your risk.

Avoid bush fire prone areas. If your home is in a bush fire prone area, the safest option is to not be there.

Do not travel through bushland areas.

Leaving is the safest option for your survival. If you plan to leave, leave early.

Stay up to date on fires in your area. People are urged to download the ‘Fires Near Me’ app: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

If you are threatened by fire, you need to take action to protect yourself. Do not be caught in the open.

Keep up-to-date with major fire updates: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/major-fire-updates

For more information about the fires, contact the Bush Fire Information Line – 1800 679 737

NSW Health

Everyone needs to take care in hot weather, but some people are more susceptible to the health effects of heatwaves include: the elderly, infants and young children, people who have to work in hot conditions, people on certain medications, people who are unwell or have chronic illness and people who live alone or are socially-isolated.

Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches heavy or loss of sweating, muscle cramps, dry swollen tongue, rapid pulse and rapid shallow breathing.

  • Staying well hydrated;
  • Avoiding alcohol and hot or sugary drinks;
  • Limiting your physical activity; and,
  • Trying to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

If you can, it’s a good idea to spend some time in an air-conditioned building.

People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.

For more information please refer to the Beat the Heat website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/default.aspx

People are also being encouraged to take extra precautions to protect themselves against the bushfire smoke. NSW Health is particularly reminding the elderly and parents and carers of young children to stay indoors, shut windows and where possible postpone outdoor activities.

People with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and make sure they are carrying their reliever medication.

More health information can be found at:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfiresmoke.aspx

NSW Ambulance:

Be aware of potential hazards such as embers, falling debris, damage to surroundings and reduced visibility which can cause injury.

Paramedics are urging people in fire affected areas to wear any form of eyewear and loose clothing to cover your skin to assist in reducing any incidental injury.

NSW Ambulance recommends if anyone sustains any form of burn they should cool the affected area immediately with water – ideally running water – for a minimum of 20 minutes (for eyes ensure you flush the eye) and seek medical attention.

It is important that people really take care of themselves. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you have all your medications with you and readily available at all times.

People with any respiratory issues, or who are particularly vulnerable, can be the first to feel the effects of smoke which may aggravate their existing condition. Even healthy adults and children can be impacted by the effects of heavy smoke which can result in lung irritation.

These conditions can have a serious impact on your health and it is important to remember that our bodies have to work extra hard to cope or cool down. Ensure you stay hydrated and pay particular attention to any symptoms (dizziness, headaches, racing pulse or nausea) of heat related illness.

NSW Ambulance is always here to help – never be afraid to call Triple Zero (000).

State Emergency Service

Strong winds may impact NSW from Thursday across the weekend. Take the time now to prepare your home or property and be aware of weather conditions:

  • Trim trees and branches that could potentially fall on your home or property
  • Park your car undercover
  • Tie down loose items and backyard furniture
  • Follow NSW SES on social media and visit the NSW SES website for regular updates
  • For emergency help in floods and storms call the NSW SES on 132 500, or for life-threatening emergencies call 000.

Fire and Rescue NSW

A statewide Total Fire Ban is now in effect through now until midnight Saturday 21 December 2019, due to hot and dry conditions across NSW. If you see an unattended fire, please call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

This means you cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or to carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire.

To prepare your home for dangerous fire weather, clean out your gutters and remove piles of rubbish, weeds and leaf matter.

If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance so that our firefighters and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) can easily identify water supplies.

If you are in a bushfire affected area, please enact your Bush Fire Survival Plan.

State Forests:

The following State forests will be closed from midnight Wednesday 18 December until further notice:

  • All State forests from north of Sydney to the Queensland border
  • All State forests from south of Sydney to the Victorian border
  • All State forests on the Northern, Central & Southern Tablelands
  • Nullo Mountain and Coricudgy State Forests (Western Region)
  • Belanglo State forest.

There will be exceptions to these closures for some visitor areas – those with good access close to main roads and towns. The following remain open at this stage:

  • Crooked Creek Rest Area, east of Tenterfield
  • Sealy Lookout, including Coffs Treetops, near Coffs Harbour
  • Old Bottlebutt near Port Macquarie
  • Coopernook Forest Headquarters, near Coopernook
  • Strickland State Forest near Gosford
  • Scrubby Creek Rest Area near Eden
  • Bodalla Forest Rest Area, near Bodalla
  • Treetop Adventure Park, Ourimbah State Forest
  • Penrose State forest Rest Area

Updates on State forest closures will be available at www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit and posted on Facebook (@visitNSWForests) over the holiday period.

NSW Police Force

With high temperatures expected in the city and hotter out west; we are asking commuters to keep their cool. Traffic delays and the heat generally has the potential to frustrate drivers with slower conditions on the road; so please be patient.

We know many people will want to head to the beach, a local swimming hole or swim in your backyard pool. Please be careful. Keep a watchful eye over children especially when they are near the water – all children need to be supervised.

While a southerly change is expected tonight (Thursday 19 December 2019), it is anticipated this may also have the potential for damaging winds. Take time now to secure lose items like garden furniture and trampolines. If you need help call emergency services.

Anyone who sees suspicious or illegal behaviour should to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

The best advice is if you don’t need to be out – stay at home.

Above all, look after yourself and those around you. If you need assistance call Triple Zero (000).

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