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Extreme heatwave cause for concern

This past week saw severe heatwave warnings hit Broken Hill, with temperatures from Monday to Friday each registering days over 40 degrees. The impending spike in temperature even forced Essential Energy to postpone planned outages in Broken Hill originally scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

A planned power outage still went ahead on Wednesday morning, with maintenance work on the electricity network that supplies power to Tibooburra and surrounds completed ahead of schedule and power restored to all customers by 11.30am.

“Essential Energy does appreciate that power outages can be inconvenient for our customers, and particularly so during extreme weather conditions, and we sincerely thank our customers for their understanding as crews work to ensure the power network remains safe and reliable for our communities”, an Essential Energy spokesperson said.

And, while the temperature is set to cool slightly this coming week, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of lingering extreme heat conditions, with Senior Meteorologist Neale Fraser saying, “for inland parts, there’s no real relief”, adding “most of the inland will remain quite hot or very hot”.

Advice from NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said that when it comes to beating the heat, people should take extra care to prevent heat-related illness, warning “hot weather puts a lot of strain on the body, including dehydration, and can make underlying health conditions worse”.

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“It is important for people to know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and take precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones cool. If they can, they should also take the time to check on vulnerable and elderly neighbours and family to ensure their safety in the heat”, he continued.

Simple precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors in the hottest part of the day
• Keep the home cooler by using air-conditioning or electric fans and closing doors, windows, blinds and curtains before it gets hot
• Limit physical activity to early in the morning when it’s coolest
• Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly, before you are thirsty. If a person has had their fluid intake restricted by a doctor, ask them about how much they should drink when it is hot
• When outdoors, apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a wide brim hat to protect the eyes, face, and scalp
• If your house can’t be kept cool, seek out cool places or air-conditioned public facilities in the local area before it gets hot

Signs of heat-related illness can include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps, heavy sweating, shallow breathing and vomiting. To cool down, move out of the sun and seek shade or air conditioning, take a cool shower or bath if possible, and drink water.

For those suffering from more extreme symptoms, including a sudden rise in body temperature, confusion, slurred speech, strange behaviour, loss of consciousness, muscle twitching or seizures, rapid breathing and a quick and strong pulse, they seek urgent medical attention or call 000.

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