News & Media

Heat Health Warning

By: Euan Ferguson

  6.20 PM 30 December, 2014

Views: 2250

As many CFA members would be aware, we are expecting to see extreme heat conditions across the state later this week. As a result, the Department of Health is issuing a Heat Health Alert for this Friday 2 January and Saturday 3 January.

With temperatures forecast to reach into the high 30s and early 40s in some areas, I want to urge all CFA members to stay vigilant and plan for their own safety as well as the safety of their families and loved ones.

While we have experienced some milder weather this week, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast temperatures to escalate, particularly in the Central, North Central, South West, Northern Country, Mallee and Wimmera districts. 

In these conditions, heat related illness, including exhaustion, is a very real danger for both our members and all Victorians. On the fireground, many cases of dehydration start well before a firefighter responds gets on a truck to respond to an incident. All CFA firefighters and operational members should be fully aware of the need to be fit for duty on these days of extreme heat. Those who are on-call should be hydrating at work or home prior to attending a call-out to a fire or other emergency incident.

In the community, we know that CFA members are looked upon as leaders, so please encourage others in your area to take responsibility for themselves and be prepared. I also want to encourage CFA members to check in on vulnerable relatives, loved ones or neighbours during this time. We need to take care of each other, and be aware of warnings and advice to keep hydrated on days of extreme heat. 

Dehydration symptoms include the onset of headache, dizziness, nausea, cramps and dry skin. These signs of dehydration are late signs and should be attended to immediately. If left untreated you can develop heat stress and this may progress to heat stroke very quickly.

CFA has a ‘Health Support Team’ that is prepared and ready to assist with advice or monitoring of crews, and general health related assistance at fires. They can be contacted on 9262 8844, or they can be requested through Vic Fire and the State Duty Officer.

See our Fireground Health page on the intranet/Brigades Online.

All of our members have a responsibility to themselves and their families to be fit to perform their duties and not place themselves or others at risk of dehydration and fatigue.

Stay safe and hydrated,

Euan Ferguson
Chief Officer 

Last Updated: 10 December 2015