Wednesday, 11 December 2019 16:58

Western Sydney to get Heat Smart

Aerial photo of Western Sydney suburb Aerial photo of Western Sydney suburb

Media release, 11 December 2019

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has received $215,000 through the Office of Emergency Management’s Community Resilience Innovation Program to deliver a coordinated approach to heatwave preparedness and management in Western Sydney.

“The project, called Heat Smart Western Sydney, will bring together local councils, government agencies and community service providers to better coordinate how heatwaves are managed, and improve community resilience to heat.

WSROC President, Cr Barry Calvert said “Heat is responsible for 60 per cent of Australia’s natural hazard related deaths, more deadly than fires, floods or storms combined. Despite this, many people underestimate the dangers of heat.

“Greater Western Sydney is particularly susceptible. We experience more extreme heat[1] than other areas of Sydney[2], and have greater numbers of vulnerable individuals due to higher levels of chronic disease, an aging population, and pockets of socio-economic disadvantage,” he said.

“The aim of Heat Smart Western Sydney is to improve the region’s resilience to heatwaves via a combination of cross-sector collaboration, upskilling front-line staff and community education,” said Cr Calvert.

“NSW has a State Heatwave Sub Plan that guides the distribution of emergency heatwave warnings, however there is much more to be done in terms of building community risk-awareness and preparedness, as well as coordinating on-the-ground responses during heat events.

“Heat is often called the ‘silent killer’ because when the weather heats up we retreat into our air-conditioned homes, leaving vulnerable individuals isolated and at risk.

“For this reason, it is important that everyone has the knowledge and tools to manage their own heat risk, and that those who are able check in with neighbours, friends and relatives during heat events to ensure they are OK.

“We all have a role to play in increasing community resilience to heat. Together we can build a Heat Smart Western Sydney,” said Cr Calvert.

Heat Smart Western Sydney will be delivered in partnership with the Western Sydney Local Health District, Resilient Sydney and local councils. The program delivers on priority actions identified under WSROC’s Turn Down the Heat Strategy (2018).



Tips for staying Heat Smart during hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty
  • Stay out of the sun and avoid going out in the heat of the day
  • Cool your home by shutting curtains or blinds and opening windows at night
  • Use air-conditioning if you have it or visit an air-conditioned place
  • If you cannot access air conditioning, apply wet towels to your arms or neck or put your feet in cool water
  • Ensure pets have access to plenty of water and shade
  • Check in regularly with friends, neighbours or relatives particularly if they are elderly or unwell
  • Have a plan and know who you can call if you need help


Those most at risk of heat-related illness include:

  • People over the age of 75
  • Infants and young children
  • Overweight or obese people
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Outdoor workers
  • Homeless individuals
  • Socially isolated
  • People who are ill or unwell
  • People with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes


People showing signs of heat-related illness should seek medical attention. Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Nausea


For more information visit NSW Health’s Beat the Heat webpage:


Media contact: Kelly Gee, 02 9671 4333, 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


[1] Extreme heat is defined as maximum daily temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius.

[2] Last summer Penrith experienced 37 days over 35 degrees, compared to six in the Sydney CBD (Greater Sydney Commission, Pulse of Greater Sydney, 2019).

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:05

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