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Extreme Heat

What is an Extreme Heat Event?

In the City of Port Adelaide Enfield we expect to experience some hot days during summer, but residents need to be aware that extreme hot weather can have a debilitating impact on health and wellbeing. An extreme heat event (or Heat wave) is considered to be three days or more of high maximum and minimum temperatures. For the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, when an average daily temperature of 32C or above is predicted for three or more consecutive days the SES will issue an Extreme Heat Warning to the public.

The average daily temperature is calculated for each day by adding the forecast maximum and minimum daytime temperatures together and dividing this number by two. For example, a 34C degree maximum daytime temperature and a 28C degree overnight temperature will provide an average of 31C degrees. This formula is applied to the forecast provided by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for the next three days.

Why Extreme Heat is considered an Emergency

During the 20th century, heatwaves caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard.
Communities in the City of Port Adelaide Enfield could experience an extreme heat event at any time; whilst it is not possible to predict the exact time and duration of an extreme heat event, we can assume they are likely to occur more frequently in summer months (November to May).

In extreme heat, you are more likely to become unwell much faster than normal, when temperatures are hotter than 35°C, your body may not be able to cool you down enough for you to stay healthy. Extreme heat events are a risk for anyone who doesn't take precautions to keep cool, even those who are fit and healthy. However, those most at risk are elderly people, babies and young children, and people with a medical condition or disability. Extreme heat events affect many other parts of everyday life too. Energy, infrastructure, public transport and agriculture are all impacted. Heatwaves also increase fire risk and can cause issues for heat stressed trees.


The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, developed by the Council of Australian Governments, provides high-level guidance on disaster management to agencies with a role in emergency management. Foremost in the Strategy is the principle of all of society taking responsibility for preventing disasters.

In the context of Extreme Heat Events:

Individuals should be aware of their own extreme heat risks and should follow advice from emergency services when responding to warnings. Disaster resilience is based on individuals taking their share of responsibility and the resilience of people and households is significantly increased by active planning and preparation for protecting their own life and property. Resilience also increased by knowing and being involved in local community disaster or emergency management arrangements, and many are involved as a volunteer.

In order to help you understand your risk you will find below an interactive Urban Heat map of the Port Adelaide Enfield area. By swiping the on-screen slider from left to right, you will be able to identify hot spot areas and heat islands.

Click here to experience our Urban Heat Map in full screen

According to the 2017 Report the City of Port Adelaide Enfield has hot spots present, covering approximately one third of the Council area. Approximately 17% of residents living in the City of Port Adelaide Enfield are considered to be within a heat island on extreme heat days. An urban heat island is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. Urban heat island mapping can identify areas where the urban heat island effect is occurring (‘hot spots’) and is used to prioritise cooling strategies for these locations.

Government agencies, Local governments and communities include Extreme Heat risk within their Community Emergency Risk Assessment activities, including consultation within emergency management planning and land use planning.

Knowing where the hot spots are in local communities can help the City of Port Adelaide Enfield understand and plan for the impacts of Extreme Heat days. It also allows Council to plan to reduce these hots spots and create more liveable communities.

  • Maintaining the amount of green space and tree cover in the Council area to provide cooling benefits
  • Green infrastructure such as trees and grass are used alongside or to shade bitumen covered surfaces such as major and minor roads, bikeways and footpaths
  • Council ensures sufficient irrigation is provided to sporting pitches, reserves and other green infrastructure networks where Possible
  • Material selection is carefully considered in the design of recreation areas for the young and elderly. For example rubber Softfall covering would only be used after consideration is given to how heat absorption can be offset through the use of shade sails
  • Council ensures that Planning, development and associated infrastructure has a strong focus on design and build quality for dwelling comfort and liveability

Resilience is developed through land management and planning arrangements, supporting individuals and communities to prepare for extreme events, and having effective education systems available about how to assess risks and reduce exposure and vulnerability to hazards.

Additional prevention tasks carried out by state and local government include:

  • Risk assessments to gain an appreciation of extreme heat risk
  • Engaging with the community regarding extreme heat risk
  • Working with communities to plan the management of extreme heat risk
  • Providing emergency information and extreme heat warnings
  • Planning for the Cool Places initiatives
  • Management of the Resilient South Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan
  • South Australia’s Climate Change Adaptation Framework*

*For more information, visit South Australian Government's climate change website

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) consists of Housing SA, Disability SA, Disability and Domiciliary Care Services and Youth Justice. The department brings together a range of services and policies designed to support vulnerable people and to help build resilient communities. They offer connection to services available in emergencies such as the Homelessness Gateway Service and Anglicare. More information can be found on their website

Private Industry and Businesses are able to plan for the risk of disruption, and can ensure arrangements are in place to maintain critical services.

Businesses can and do play a fundamental role in supporting a community’s resilience to disasters. They provide resources, expertise and essential services on which the community may depend. Businesses, including critical infrastructure providers, can also make a contribution by understanding the risks that they face and ensuring that they are able to continue providing services during or soon after a disaster.

State Government will work with industry to support community access to essentials, such as food, fuel and cash, in the event of a widespread blackout. Business can access tools and resources through and the SA Business Hotline (1300 142 820) to help with their emergency and continuity planning.

The links below are designed to help businesses plan for emergency situations:

Business Continuity Plans – A quick guide to impact analysis and plan development
Plan and Prepare – State Government advice on how to protect your business

For additional information about Earthquakes please visit the following websites:
SA Government - Emergencies and Safety - Extreme Heat
SES - Safety - Heat safe
SA Health - Emergency Management - Extreme Heat


Things you can do now to prepare for an Extreme Heat event:

Understand your risk
Be aware that people living in urban areas can be at risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave. Find out more about Adelaide’s urban heat island project and the heat mapping study conducted by Seed Consulting Western Adelaide Urban Heat Island Project

Know the Symptoms