Staying comfortable during an outage

Stay cool or warm without power with these practical tips.

Here are some ways you can be as comfortable as possible during a power outage.

Be cool

Heat can make some medical conditions worse. If you rely on electricity for life support equipment, make sure you create an emergency plan with your medical practitioner.

Life support customers can call our priority line anytime on 1800 818 832.

If you think the heat is affecting your health, call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for 24-hour health advice or see your doctor.

For all life-threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Naturally cool your home

  • Keep the heat out during the day. Close windows and window coverings during the day (especially those facing the sun).
  • Use the night air to cool your home. If it’s safe to do so, open your windows during the night and early morning when the outside temperature is lower.
  • Hang wet towels to cool down the air in the room. 

Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water, eat fruit and stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
  • If you rely on an electric pump for your water supply, make sure you have another water source, or stock up on bottled water.
  • Move to the coolest room in the home, especially at night.
  • Take cool (not cold) showers or baths. Use foot baths to cool down.
  • Place a damp cloth on your neck.
  • Spritz your skin with a spray bottle filled with water. Spritz your sheets before you go to sleep at night too.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothes in natural materials.
  • Use cotton bed linen.
  • Eat smaller “no-cook” meals more often.
  • Keep your pets cool and make sure they have enough water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity like exercise, gardening and renovating.

Outside your home

  • Call or visit your neighbours to check if they are coping with the heat. This is especially important for the vulnerable, like people who live alone. Avoid going outside, especially to do strenuous activity.
  • If you must be outside, stay in the shade, rest regularly and drink plenty of water. Go out during the coolest part of the day (usually first thing in the morning).
  • Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide:
    • Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
    • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen.
    • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, ears and neck.
    • Seek shade.
    • Slide on sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard for UV protection
  • Consider visiting air-conditioned buildings, such as shopping centres, public libraries, community centres and cinemas.
  • Never leave children, older people or pets in the car.

For more tips to survive the heat, including how to identify symptoms of heat-related stress, visit the Victorian Government’s Better Health website.

Stay warm

Winter storms can often damage our network and cause power outages. Try these tips to stay warm during a power outage.

Keep your home warm

  • Seal off any draughts from doors and windows. Read Sustainability Victoria’s guide to draught proofing a home.
  • Pick a room that has north-facing windows, as the sun will be shining through these windows all day. Because heat rises, rooms upstairs will be warmer too.
  • Close off rooms that you’re not using so the heat stays in the room you are using.
  • Insulate your floor by laying rugs, throw rugs, towels and blankets. According to Sustainability Victoria, you can lose 5% of your heat through the floor.
  • Let the sun in during the day by opening curtains on north-facing windows. Stop heat escaping through your windows by closing your curtains when the sun goes down.
  • Always be aware of carbon monoxide and fire risk. If you have a gas heater, don’t use it unless it has been tested by a licensed gasfitter for carbon monoxide leaks. Never move outdoor gas heaters inside. Read Energy Safe Victoria’s guide to heating your home with gas.

Keep your body warm

  • Wearing many layers is more effective than one thick layer. This helps to trap more heat around your body.
  • Wool is an excellent fabric choice because it keeps you dry by absorbing and removing moisture from your skin. When it gets wet, it still keeps you warm.
  • Keep your clothes dry and change out of sweaty clothes.
  • Wear socks, shoes, hats, gloves and scarves in the house if you feel cold.
  • Sleep with a double layer of blankets to trap heat more effectively.
  • Keep moving! Exercising or moving around the house will help you keep warm.
  • Keep a blanket over your knees.

For more tips on coping with cold weather, visit the Better Health website.