Lifesavers Gearing Up For Heatwave

Extreme heatwave conditions across much of NSW have volunteer surf lifesavers bracing for what could be one of the busiest weekends of the season.

Thousands are expected to flock to the beach as they attempt to beat the heat over the weekend with the mercury forecast to be in the high 30s.

These extreme temperatures means that heat stress is a very real risk for those out in the sun, and 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, lifesavers urged.

Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Manager, Andy Kent, said the welfare of the public including volunteer lifesavers themselves will be a high priority in coming days.

“Our active patrolling members do an amazing job, often in very trying conditions and their health and safety is something we take very seriously,” said Andy Kent.

“Following the Deputy State Emergency Operations Controller activating the NSW State Heatwave Sub Plan SLSNSW communicated this information to all our clubs and branches.

“Additionally all Patrol Captains have been advised to watch out for signs of heat stress among their fellow team members and for volunteers to seek shade and stay hydrated while on patrol,” Mr Kent said.

A number of surf carnivals and championships are scheduled over the weekend and Surf Life Saving NSW has advised Branches and clubs to monitor conditions and manage their events to ensure the safety of competitors, officials and volunteers.

There is a possibility some carnivals may be condensed, postponed or even cancelled if heat becomes an issue, particularly for Junior Championships and Nippers.

It has been a challenging month for the lifesaving community with a series of drownings in recent weeks and while surf conditions are forecast to be moderate, lifesavers are urging the public to be “beach aware.”

“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,” said Andy Kent.

“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,” he said.

Volunteer surf lifesavers will be out in force each weekend and public holiday until the end of the patrol season on Tuesday 25 April 2017. 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

Fri 10 Feb 2017