St John WA crews keep their cool during heatwave

Press Release

St John WA crews attended to more than 20 people over the weekend suffering from heat exposure, prompting the organisation to issue a reminder about how to stay safe in the heat.

The temperature in Perth on Saturday hit 41.3 degrees.

Between January 13-14, 18 people called Triple Zero (000) with heat-related illness.

The majority of these calls came from within the Perth metropolitan region and were made up of men and women aged between 40 and 86.

Others were treated for heat exposure by St John WA’s Event Health Services team at public events.

Heat-induced conditions occur when the body’s core temperature is elevated.

This is known as hyperthermia and is caused by excessive heat absorption from a hot environment, excessive heat production from metabolic activity, failure of the body’s cooling mechanisms, and/or an alteration in the body’s set temperature.

Signs of hyperthermia include high body temperature, dizziness and faintness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, pale skin and other signs of shock, dry skin, poor muscle control or weakness, decreasing levels of consciousness, confusion, or seizures.

What to do

Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan.

Cooling management

  • Lie the person in a cool environment or in the shade.
  • Loosen and remove excessive clothing.
  • Send for an ambulance if not improving quickly.

While waiting for professional assistance for individuals more than five years of age:

  • Immerse (i.e. whole-body from the neck down) in cold water (a bath if possible, as cold as possible) for 15 minutes.

If this is not available, a combination of the following methods should be used:

  • Wet the person with cold or cool water, under a shower if safe, or with a hose or other water source.
  • Apply ice packs (groin, armpits, facial cheeks, palms and soles).
  • Repeatedly moisten the skin with a moist cloth or water spray.
  • Fan continuously.

While waiting for professional assistance for children five years of age and under:

  • Cool in a tepid (lukewarm) bath sponging frequently if bath available, or:
  • Repeatedly moisten the skin with a moist cloth or atomiser spray.
  • Fan continuously.

Hydration Management

  • Give cool or cold water to drink if fully conscious and able to swallow. 
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