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Urban Heat

Beat the Heat this Summer

Heat stress and heat related illness pose a significant risk to our health and wellbeing. This summer, make sure you’re aware of what symptoms to look out for in yourself and your loved ones. Remember that the impact of heat accumulates, so several 35-degree days in a row can be just as dangerous as a single 45-degree day.

 

Council has created Cool Places for you to beat the heat

This summer City of Parramatta has partnered with libraries to operate as Cool Places where you can head to escape the heat if your home isn’t suitable during heatwaves. All libraries within the Parramatta LGA will be operating as Cool Places, with water, books, and activities available. Three libraries will have extended opening hours when extreme heatwaves are announced by the Bureau of Meteorology. These are:

  • Dundas library
  • Ermington library
  • Constitution Hill library

Heatwaves are often announced only a couple of days in advance. To keep up to date with current opening hours, contact the above libraries directly.

Find all the opening times and locations of libraries here

There are other places you can head to on hot days that may be closer to where you live and easier to get to. Check out the following places and see which ones are nearest to you and make a plan to go there on very hot days.

  • Parramatta Aquatic Centre
  • Epping Aquatic Centre
  • Lake Parramatta.
  • Your local shopping centre (North Rocks, Carlingford Court, Westfield shopping centres, etc.)
  • Council's water play parks - We provide local families with the opportunity to participate in water-based activities during the warmer months of the year. Water play park locations include James Ruse Reserve, Harris Park, Philip Ruddock Water Playground, Dundas Valley, Ollie Web Reserve and Inclusive Playground.
  • If you want to head outside, make sure you avoid the hottest part of the day (11am – 5pm). When you head out, visit one of the many parks in Parramatta and stick to the shade of trees to keep cool.

 

 

Make a heat emergency plan and kit

To make getting through hot days easy and safe, take the time to create an emergency plan and prepare your home for extreme heat events. Use the below tips as a checklist to help you Beat the Heat this summer.

  • Check your air conditioner and fans.
  • Install blinds or curtains to cover your windows.
  • Stock your fridge and freezer with water, ice cubes, and cool packs.
  • Speak with your doctor about whether your medical condition or medications will be affected by heat.
  • Make a plan for who to call for help and write down a list of people and phone numbers.
  • Power use increases during heatwaves and can lead to power failures and blackouts. Pack an emergency kit with a torch, batteries, radio, and first aid kit. Make sure your car has petrol, your phone is charged, or get a portable charger.
  • If your home isn’t safe to stay in during a heatwave, have a plan to go somewhere cool, like a shopping centre, library, or the home of a friend.

 

 

 

Keep yourself cool

Planning ahead is the best thing you can do to keep yourself cool and safe this summer. Our key tips for keeping cool focus on avoiding heat when you can and cooling your body if you’re hot. Cooling your body is faster and more effective than trying to cool a room in your home with air conditioning.

To keep cool, use these tips:

  • Plan for high heat days by moving appointments to the early morning.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol as they can increase your risk of dehydration.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Wear light-coloured loose clothing when outside.
  • Have a cool shower or go for a swim at your local pool or at Lake Parramatta.
  • Put wet towels or cool packs on your arms or neck.
  • Put your feet into cool water.
  • Eat cool foods, like salads or fruit.

 

Keep your home cool

By keeping an eye on weather forecasts, you can take some small steps to prevent your home from heating up on hot days. Follow these tips to keep comfortable at home this summer:

  • Close windows, doors, and blinds in the morning.
  • In the evening when temperatures begin to drop, open up windows and doors to allow the cooler air into your home.
  • If you have air conditioning, don’t wait until your home is hot to turn it on, but rather aim to keep it at a cool and comfortable temperature. This will help you use less energy.
  • Have a designated cool room instead of trying to keep your entire home cool. This could be your bedroom or living room. 
  • Start to plan for future summers. Plant and maintain vegetation that provides dense canopy shade. If you only have a small space, consider climbing plants in pots with trellises placed near your windows.
  • When building or renovating, use light coloured surfaces for your roofing, external walls and paved areas.

For more ideas for how to change your environment, we recommend you visiting the following sites:

 

Keeping your pets safe during heatwaves

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Just like us, our pets can suffer during hot weather and heatwaves. To keep them safe on hot days:

  • Make sure they have plenty of water and shade available. Have multiple water bowls in case one is knocked over.
  • Bring pets inside if you can.
  • Avoid walking dogs or playing outside with them during the hottest part of the day.
  • Watch out for symptoms of heat stress. If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, call an RSPCA veterinary hospital or your local veterinarian immediately.
  • Spray your pet bird with a pump spray bottle (if they like it), or install a bird bath, ensuring they are always supervised.
  • Freeze half a bowl of water overnight and add half a bowl of cool water before giving it to your pet.
  • For small pets, put a ceramic tile or oven pan in the fridge or freezer for them to lie down on.

Check out more tips to keep your pets safe here:
 

 

Dog drinking water from hands
 

Feeling the heat

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Here in the Western Sydney region, we are really feeling the heat.

Parramatta’s CBD is located 20km west of the coast and it is generally hotter than the Sydney CBD, with hot westerly winds from inland further contributing to our higher temperatures.

Increased temperatures and exposure to extreme heat events pose health risks such as dehydration and overheating. There are groups in our community who are at greater risk of heat-related illnesses such as those with chronic illness, the elderly, and young children.

What to look out for
  • Heat stress and heat related illness pose a significant risk to our health and wellbeing. This summer, make sure you’re aware of what symptoms to look out for in yourself and your loved ones. Remember that the impact of heat accumulates, so several 35-degree days in a row can be just as dangerous as a single 45-degree day.

    Some people are at greater risk of heat-related illness than others and need to take more precautions on hot days. These people include:

    Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness, and requires urgent medical care. Symptoms include:

    • Confusion
    • Slurred speech
    • Fainting
    • Profuse sweating or hot, dry skin
    • Muscle twitching or seizures
    • Rapid breathing
    • A quick and strong pulse
    • Very high body temperature

    Heat stroke can be life threatening. If you believe someone is suffering from heat stroke, immediately call triple zero (000).

    Seek medical advice before taking aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol to treat heat stroke symptoms as they may be harmful.

    Heat exhaustion is your body’s response to a loss of water and salt during hot weather through excessive sweating. Symptoms include:

    • Pale skin
    • Headache
    • Nausea, vomiting
    • Dizziness, fainting
    • Weakness
    • Thirst
    • Heavy sweating
    • Muscle cramps
    • Decreased urine output

    Heat exhaustion must be treated quickly as it can develop into severe illness.

    First-aid for heat-related illness

    • Get out of the heat and move to a cooler area indoors or under shade
    • Lay down and elevate feet
    • Loosen or remove clothing
    • Cool down any way you can: spray the person with cool water, apply a cool, damp sponge or cloth, wet clothes and skin, have a cool shower or bath, apply ice packs or crushed ice in a damp towel on the neck, groin and armpits
    • Drink small sips of water if able

    Please note:

    If you are unwell, contact your doctor or the Medicare Urgent Care Centre.

    Urgent Care Triage Line: 1800 371 372

    For more information about heat-related illness and first aid, you can visit the following sites:

Helpful information and resources (Back to top)

Helpful information and resources
  • Urban temperature differences are largely a result of the materials and form of the built environment and a decline in green spaces and tree cover. It is important to know that urban heat can be generated from the sun and through mechanical processes.

    In the City of Parramatta, we experience urban heat through localised increased temperatures due to increasing areas of paved, hard, dark coloured surfaces like roads, car parks, footpaths and buildings.

    Some areas of the City are also impacted by locally generated heat through the use of mechanical equipment, air conditioners and motor vehicles.

    During the day, hard, dark coloured surfaces absorb and store heat and release it back into the environment, which can make it feel hot for longer.

    When the air temperature starts to cool at night, these surfaces continue to release the stored heat, which can make it much hotter at night. These increased night temperatures make it harder for us to cool down enough to get restful sleep without running fans and air conditioning.

    For more information about urban heat, you can visit the following sites:

  • You can download the resources here:

    Heat Smart - Parents
    Heat Smart - Over 65
    Heat Smart - Cool Home

    Download our Beat the Heat brochure here:

    Beat the Heat
     

    For more ideas for how to prepare for extreme heat, we recommend you visiting the following sites:

  • Western Sydney Cool Roads Trial - We have recently completed a trial of a road-surface treatment to help reduce the heat released by asphalt roads in our suburbs, view summary findings here.

    Providing more shade through urban greening - We are helping keep our City cool by planting 2,700 trees in streets and parks and 100,000 plants in bushland reserves throughout our local government area.

    City Heat Maps - Explore the temperature during the day and night in your local area via this virtual map.

    Collaborative Projects - Find out about the projects we are supporting to reduce the impact of urban heat.

    Best Practice in Design and Development - We are working on planning and development controls so that new developments can reduce their urban heat impacts. See our Local Strategic Planning Statement and the draft Parramatta City Centre Development Control Plan (public consultation closed 13 December 2021) for more details.

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