Seek out the cool, residents urged

WODONGA residents who don’t have airconditioning are being urged to seek respite in public spaces and shopping centres during the heat of the day with the region braced for sizzling conditions for days on end.

The Wodonga Council yesterday enacted its heatwave plan, on advice from the Victorian Department of Health.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting temperatures of 42 degrees today, 41 degrees tomorrow, 39 degrees on Monday and back up to 41 degrees on Tuesday.

The bureau’s media and community relations manager, David Morrison, said that while a weak cool change was expected in Melbourne overnight, there was “no real relief” expected in the border area.

“The saving grace over the next few days is that it won’t be windy,” he said.

“It will remain warm at night with overnight temperatures in the mid 20s until Wednesday and Thursday when they will fall to 17 or even 16 degrees.”

Wodonga Council’s chief executive Patience Harrington said the main benefit of enacting the city’s heatwave plan was that it should reduce the effects of heat-related illness.

“We advise residents, especially vulnerable people, to stay indoors where possible,” she said.

“For those who do not have air-conditioners, several public spaces and shopping centres may be used as respite during the hottest part of the day.”

Among them, The Cube will open from 9.30am to 6pm today, 9.30am to 5.30pm tomorrow and 9.30am to 6pm on weekdays.

The Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre will also be open — from 8am to 6pm today and tomorrow and 6am to 9pm from Monday to Thursday — and 8pm on Fridays.

A film screening in the The Cube courtyard planned for tonight has been cancelled.

Ms Harrington said the most vulnerable people included older people, young children, people with a chronic disease, outdoor workers and sportspeople.

“We have identified our most at-risk home care clients and our staff will monitor them and and provide advice,” she said.

“And we have informed other service providers, carers, employers and other supporting organisations.”

Those showing signs of heat stress or heat-related illness should phone the Nurse On Call on 1300 606 024 or Maternal and Child Health Line on 132 229 (both 24 hours).

Signs include heat exhaustion, dizziness, fainting, heat cramps, heat rash and heat stroke (requires urgent medical attention).

In an emergency, phone triple-0.

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