With temperatures rising and Christmas just around the corner, the Andrews Labor Government is reminding Victorians to be prepared for deadly summer heatwaves, and never leave children in cars on hot days.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy and Minister Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today joined Ambulance Victoria to launch the Survive the Heat campaign for the 2016/17 summer.

Extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any other natural disaster. More than 374 people died from extreme heat in the first five weeks of 2009 – more than were killed on Black Saturday on 7 February that year.

Nearly 170 died in the 2014 heatwave, and 436 were hospitalised for heat related conditions that summer. Last summer, 470 were hospitalised.

During heatwaves people should:

  • Drink more water
  • Keep cool and seek out air conditioned buildings
  • Plan ahead and schedule activities in the coolest part of the day
  • Check in on others, especially older people, young children and people with a medical condition.

The campaign is a critical part of the Labor Government’s Heat Health Plan for Victoria, which sets out what extreme heat is, how it is monitored and, most importantly, how people can protect themselves and their loved ones from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Another important part of the campaign is warning parents about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.

Between 1 September 2015 to 31 August this year, Ambulance Victoria paramedics were called to 1623 cases of children locked in cars – 190 more than the year before.

Last December, Ambulance Victoria paramedics responded to an average of seven calls every single day.

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Quotes attributable to Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy

“Extreme heat can be deadly. It may seem simple, but following these important tips on a hot day could save your own or your loved one’s life.”

“We want everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy summer with family and friends. That’s why it’s so important to get prepared early, look out for one another, stay cool and drink more water.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“It’s never safe to leave anyone – children or pets – in cars on hot days. The temperature in a car can double in minutes.”

“Hot cars kill – so there are no excuses, and no exceptions. We know children are especially at risk because they lose fluids quicker, become dehydrated and can suffer life threatening heat stroke.”