An expected heatwave across much of NSW for at least the next few days as well as the recent spike in drownings over the festive season, has prompted surf lifesavers to issue a stark warning to those heading to the beach. Know how to beat the heat but stay safe at the same time.
The forecast extreme temperatures well in excess of 30 degrees means that heat stress is a very real risk for the thousands of people expected to descend on the coast over the next few days.
Some of the common symptoms associated with this condition include dizziness, fatigue and headaches as well as confusion, cramps, nausea, and vomiting in more advanced cases.
If left untreated it can lead to the more serious condition of heat stroke so it is important to take immediate steps if you start to experience distress from the heat and to closely watch family members and friends.
Surf Life Saving NSW Lifesaving Manager, Andy Kent, said the State Operations Centre is prepared for a busy few days on NSW beaches.
“Hot weather and school holidays are sure to mean more people will head to the beach or other waterways to try and cool off,” said Andy Kent.
“This could put pressure on lifeguards who are on patrol weekdays across the state and our volunteer lifesavers as we move into the weekend.
“Lifeguards and lifesavers have been extremely busy over the last few weeks and we are urging the public to do what they can to help lessen the load by taking some responsibility for their own safety.
“Some practical ways people can protect themselves and their family are to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags, watch out for children around any body of water and stay alert to the early signs of heat stress.”
It has been a challenging month for the lifesaving community with 22 drownings (including nine coastal drowning deaths) since Christmas Day.
Lifeguards are on patrol at many beaches across the state on weekdays.
Volunteer surf lifesavers will be out in force each weekend and public holiday until the end of the patrol season on Tuesday, April 25. For patrol times and locations visit www.beachsafe.org.au
Tips For Beating The Heat
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
• Avoid the diuretic effects of alcohol
• Bring a long sleeve shirt to cover up after spending time in the sun
• Stay out of direct sunlight where possible during the hottest parts of the day
• Apply plenty of sunscreen and reapply regularly
• Know the warning signs of heat stress (excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, nausea etc)
• Seek medical attention from lifesavers or lifeguards if feeling unwell
• Remember SLIP on some protective clothing, SLOP on some sunscreen, SLAP on a hat,SLIDE on a pair of sunglasses, SEEK some shade, and SIP on lots of water