Nine CBR summer health and safety tips
Along with the joys of sunny days and the holiday season come a number of perils and pitfalls. We’ve put together a guide to resources to help you through our long hot summer.
Look after yourself
Stay cool and hydrated
Canberra’s swimming pools, rivers, lakes, libraries, museums, galleries, gardens and cinemas can provide respite from the hot weather, but extreme heat can present a serious health risk. Stay inside between 11am and 3pm on hot days, choose shade if you must be outdoors, drink plenty of water, and keep an eye on your elderly relatives and neighbours who are more vulnerable to the heat.
For information on avoiding heat stress visit www.health.act.gov.au/summersafety
Take care with food preparation and storage
The risk of food-borne illness is particularly high in summer, as we entertain outdoors and attend barbecues away from home. Prevent illness by keeping hands and utensils clean, cooking food thoroughly and discarding food that has been left out for more than two hours.
Visit health.act.gov.au and search for the Summertime Food Safety fact sheet.
Beware of swimming risks
Take care when swimming in Canberra’s recreational waterways. Risks can include submerged hazards, fast-flowing currents, and changes in water quality conditions that can lead to Blue Green Algae blooms. Weekly water sampling takes place in our three local lakes, the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, Molonglo River and Paddy’s River during the warmer months.
Avoid alcohol when swimming, and visit tccs.act.gov.au to check current advice on conditions in our lakes, ponds and rivers.
Be prepared for dust and smoke in the air
With dry and windy conditions forecast over summer, we’re likely to see more dust and smoke in the air. Most people will not experience any health impact. However, people with asthma and other heart or lung conditions should be prepared. This includes taking medication as prescribed by their doctor, limiting time spent outdoors and avoiding vigorous exercise when conditions are bad.
For more tips visit health.act.gov.au and search for the dust storm or outdoor smoke fact sheets.
Look after your home and property
Be fire ready
The ACT can experience extreme fire danger over summer, and dry conditions in and around the territory mean there is increased risk this year. Be aware of and abide by total fire bans and take a few minutes to make or update a bushfire survival plan for your household.
For the latest fire rating, a fire danger forecast and a bushfire plan template, visit esa.act.gov.au
Be storm ready
The strong winds, rain and hail that can accompany storms in our region can be extremely dangerous, causing damage to property and presenting a safety risk for Canberrans and their pets and livestock.
Find advice on preparing your home for storms at esa.act.gov.au Record the Storm and Flood Assistance number, 132 500, in case you lose power.
Keep your home and its contents safe and secure
Going away? Try to leave your house looking lived in with the help of a neighbour or housesitter. Make sure all windows and doors are locked, mail is collected and you have your lawn mown while you are away.
Find more tips in ACT Policing’s Home and personal safety guide via police.act.gov.au/safety-and-security/home-security
Beware of spiders, snakes and wasps
Critter alert - watch out for snakes, spiders, wasps and other dangerous creatures. There are eight snake species in the ACT, with the Eastern brown snake the most likely to appear in residential areas.
If you find a European wasp nest call the European Wasp Hotline on 6162 1914 for advice.
Look out for others
Be mindful of those around you and how you can help
Sometimes the festive season can be tough. Loneliness or the stress of preparing for the holidays can get you down or leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Be on the lookout for signs that someone close to you may be struggling with their mental health – it could be a family member or friend, a colleague or neighbour.
For 24hr help call Lifeline on 131 114, or to find out more, visit health.act.gov.au and search mental health services.