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Created 8th December 2023 

This page provides information about key supports and services for individuals and communities impacted by heat and heatwaves in NSW. 

Please note that NCOSS is a peak body and cannot directly provide people with direct assistance. For emergency help in a heatwave, contact your GP or health provider. 

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Heatwave Warnings

Heat & Health

          • HeatWatch app
          • NSW Health information & resources
          • Bushfire smoke

Information for Community Organisations preparing for Heatwaves

Mental Health Support

Pets and livestock

Cool Places

Other resources and information

Heatwave Warnings 

  • For latest heatwave warnings and information, visit the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website, or call 1300 945 108 (All NSW, pre-recorded messages only). 
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has a NSW Heatwave Warning webpage.
  • Watch a short video to understand Bureau of Meteorology Heatwave Warnings. 

 

Heat & Health

HeatWatch app - The University of Sydney’s Heat and Health Research Incubator in collaboration with community partners have developed the HeatWatch application.  

The HeatWatch app enables people in the community to estimate their personalised heat health risk based on their location, age, activity level and clothing. The app also gives you easy cooling strategies, based on science.  

The HeatWatch application is free to use via phone, tablet, or desktop.  

 

NSW Health information and resources  

    • Staying healthy during hot weather 
    • Who is most at risk from heat-related health problems 
    • Planning for hot weather 
    • Symptoms and first aid for heat-related illness 
    • Factsheets - e.g. older people, babies, children, carers and parents 
    • Posters 
    • Social media messages 
    • Downloadable toolkit 
  • NSW Health Translated resources in English, Arabic (العربية), Chinese - Simplified (简体中文), Chinese - Traditional (繁體中文), Croatian (Hrvatski), Filipino (Wikang Tagalog), Greek (Ελληνικά), Italian (Italiano), Macedonian (Mакедонски), Spanish (Español), Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt Nam) 
  • Vic Health video resources in: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, Greek, Italian, Somali, Turkish, Vietnamese 

Bushfire smoke 

During heatwaves, there may be danger to health from bushfire smoke.  

NSW Health provides information on preparing for bushfire smoke and for people at higher risk from bushfire smoke, including: 

  • Asthma 
  • Heart and lung conditions 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Infants and young children 
  • Diabetes​ 

Many local Councils have been provided a stock of P2/N95 respirator masks. Check with your Council to confirm whether they can provide masks for your service.

Posters on ‘Staying healthy if bushfire smoke is about’ are available in the following languages: 

Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Croatian, English, Farsi, Filipino, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Nepali, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese 

 

Community Organisations preparing for Heatwaves

NSW Health NGO Summer Preparedness webinar recording (December 2023). 

In this session for health and social NGO workers, NSW Health provide guidance on the health risks of heatwave and bushfire this summer and how people and services can prepare. 

The recording with transcription is available via Zoom: 

Recording link 

Passcode: w36c.@LS 

 

Heat Smart Toolkit: A guide for building heatwave preparedness in community organisations 

This Guide, prepared by Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, includes information on: 

  • Who is at risk 
  • Key challenges people face 
  • Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness 
  • Key planning considerations for organisations 
  • A heatwave planning checklist (for all organisations) 
  • A client welfare checklist (for home care service providers) 

 

 

Australian Red Cross provides practical information and resources on coping with heatwaves and hot weather.

Helping individuals prepare for heatwaves

Here are some resources to support service users to plan for extreme weather:

 

Mental Health Support 

 

Pets and Livestock 

 

Cool Places 

Some local councils provide Cool Places for community members during heatwaves: 

 

Other resources and information

Other resources and support to assist people and organisations prepare for and respond to heatwaves include the following.

Financial support - for people 

Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) helps people having trouble paying their energy bill because of a short-term financial hardship, crisis or emergency. Apply online via Service NSW or in person through your nearest EAPA Scheme Provider. 

Service NSW also provides information on other energy rebates, including Seniors and Medical Energy rebates. 

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) offers safe and affordable access to credit to people on low incomes in NSW. The scheme provides up to $2000 dollars for essential goods and services over 2 years. Use the Good Shepherd NILS Provider Finder. 

The National Debt Helpline  provides free assistance to those in financial difficulty. Call 1800 007 007, 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Call, or visit the National Debt Helpline website to find a Financial Counsellor near you. 

For assistance with complaints about your energy provider, contact the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON), 1800 246 545, complaints@ewon.com.au. 

For households struggling to pay energy bills, contact your energy provider to find out more about their Hardship Policy.

Financial support - for organisations 

  • Find a government initiative, grant or funding program to help support your business, project or your community here.  
  • The Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal offer grants to support regional community programs and initiatives.  

Support for community 

  • Local community services and organisations are at the forefront of crisis support. Search for your local services using Infoxchange Service Seeker or Ask Izzy  to find out what local services are doing in your area. 
  • My Community Directory provides online health and community information for locations throughout NSW.

Community organisations responding to extreme weather

Tools and resources to understand and plan the role of your organisation in preparing and responding to extreme weather events:

NCOSS is currently leading the Community Sector Disaster Capability project with AbSec and the LCSA to strengthen the role of place-based NGOs in reducing disaster risks. Working with local NGOs in the three NSW locations, the project is building local NGO sector and community disaster preparedness and resilience.