How to stay safe in the heat
If you are visiting a park in the Northern Territory (NT), there are guidelines you should follow to protect yourself from the heat.
Walking in hot weather can be dangerous and sometimes even deadly.
Even if you are an experienced walker, you should take precautions when visiting NT parks.
If you visit a park you should:
- walk early in the day
- check the temperature before you walk on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website
- always carry a printed map and compass on extended walks - use GPS navigation apps as a backup
- use interactive maps on your mobile phone or tablet
- wear protective clothing
- take rests in the shade
- drink plenty of water
- avoid alcohol or sugary drinks like soft drinks.
For more information on heat safety watch the video below or get the Beat the Heat fact sheet .
The best way to avoid heat-related illness on your walk is to be prepared before you go.
You should stay updated on local weather forecasts and avoid walking in extreme heat.
If you feel unwell, stop. Rest in the shade and drink water.
You should also do the following:
When applying sunscreen, you should:
- use SPF 30 or higher
- apply 20 minutes before going outside
- reapply every two hours during your walk.
Wear suitable clothing
It's best to wear protective clothing such as:
- light-coloured clothes made of breathable cotton fabric
- shirts with long or three quarter sleeves with turned-up collars to protect your neck
- hats with a broad brim to protect the face, ears and neck.
Drink lots of water
Always carry water and make sure you:
- start drinking water before your walk
- drink at least one litre of water per hour when outside
- drink water regularly even in milder temperatures if you are in the Red Centre or the Top End.
When going for a walk, make sure you:
- take snacks to replenish your energy levels - fruit or energy bars are a good idea.
Avoid walking in extreme heat
In hot weather you should:
- start your walk as early in the morning as possible – during the summer, temperatures often go over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) by as early as 9am.
Plan your route
You should always:
- tell someone where you are going and plan your route well
- stay on the paths and follow all signs
- carry a map of the area - make sure you know where you are going
- use GPS navigation apps and take a map on your phone with you as backup
- know where you can top up water if needed before you start walking.
Check the weather before you go
Central Australia experiences extreme heat between November and March.
The Top End can experience hot and humid conditions from October to March.
- if walking during these months of extreme weather, make sure you are prepared
- some walks are closed when temperatures are considered too high
- check the temperature before your walk and consider postponing if it is more than 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
If you think someone might have heatstroke, you should do all of the following:
- call 000
- move the person into a cool, shady place while waiting for help
- remove any unnecessary clothing
- wet their skin with water and ice packs if possible.
Last updated: 21 September 2020
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