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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Heatwave prompts lifesavers’ safety call

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More than 50 lifeguards will be patrolling beaches along the north coast during coming days, with seas predicted to be quite rough. (Pic: sls.com.au)
As well as taking care in the surf, lifesavers and lifeguards are warning beachgoers to take precautions against heat stress, particularly over the next few hot days. (Pic: sls.com.au)

With temperatures set to spike well into the 30s in parts of the northern rivers over the next few days, Surf Life Saving NSW has issued a warning to beachgoers – and it’s not only about safety in the surf.

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 its common symptoms 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.

Around the region, Lismore is set for a top of 37 today, with Byron Bay on 30, Tweed Heads on 28 and Ballina on 27.

NSW lifesaving manager Andy Kent said the combination of hot weather and school holidays means more people will head to the beach to try and cool off.

‘This could put pressure on lifeguards who are on patrol weekdays across the state and our volunteer lifesavers as we move into the weekend,’ said Mr Kent.

‘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.

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

 

 


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