Heatwaves are of particular concern for our inner-city area due to the urban heat island effect, where structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructures absorb and re-emit the sun's heat more than natural landscapes.
Renters in particular are at risk in extreme heat events, with a report by Better Renting showing that rental properties exceed safe temperatures (25°C) in summer 45% of the time. There are no requirements for rental properties to be properly insulated and no ability for renters to install fans, air conditioning, curtains, or even plant a shade garden. We desperately need the state government to legislate minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties to keep renters safe during heat waves.
At the local level I constantly work at delivering tree planning and urban greening initiatives (verge planting, community gardens, advocate for pocket parks) to counter the urban heat island effect, with heatwaves posing the most significant threat of any natural disaster in Brisbane this summer, it's essential to take the time to prepare yourself.
Use advance warning to find out how you and the people you care for might be affected and what supports are available to you.
- Register for the Brisbane Severe Weather Alert for free severe weather alerts delivered by email, SMS or voice message.
- Register for the Bureau of Meteorology weather app to receive warnings for upcoming events.
- Understand the risks that might be posed to your health in a heatwave event.
- If you have pets, read up on tips for caring for animals during summer from the RSPCA.
- Check in with your friends and neighbours who might be at risk, and see if you can help each other prepare. For friends and family who have a disability, Queenslanders with Disability Network have written this emergency preparedness resource.
- Those with medical conditions should seek advice from their doctor about handling the heat.
- Think of ways to make your home cooler. Some ideas include installing curtains, closing the blinds, planting vines to provide cooling shade outside of your home, and getting extra fans.
- Plan your day to keep activity to a minimum in the hottest part of the day
- Avoid strenuous activities like gardening and exercising
- Never leave children, adults or animals in parked cars
Find cool spaces
- If your home is too hot, try and visit one of our air conditioned libraries such as West End Library or pools such as Musgrave Park Pool
- It's always cooler by the water; you could find some shade and a breeze at one of our shady riverside parks, including Orleigh Park, Captain Burke Park, and South Bank Parklands.
The Summer heat is coming, so make sure to be prepared and let's help take care of our neighbours, family, friends and our furry pals.