The state government is urging vulnerable South Australians to register with a potentially lifesaving free phone service that provides free welfare checks at regular intervals during heatwaves.
With this summer’s first burst of hot weather climbing into the mid-to-high 30s this week, it is timely to consider how vulnerable and isolated people can best prepare during the extreme heat.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the phone service, which is provided by the Red Cross, is activated by the Department of Human Services during declared heatwave events.
“When the temperatures soar, people registered with Telecross REDI can receive a phone call up to three times a day, to check on how they are coping,” said Minister Lensink.
“The trained Red Cross volunteers can also provide tips to stay cool or activate an emergency procedure if required.”
Minister Lensink said she urged vulnerable members of the community to register with the service.
“This service could literally be a life saver for people in our community – not just those who live alone, or with a disability or mental illness – but also those who are housebound, frail, aged, recovering from an illness or accident,” said Minister Lensink.
“These people are known to be at a far greater risk than others during the hot weather.
“I urge people who think they might need support during extreme heat to register their details with the Red Cross now. It’s also a good idea for people to consider any relatives or friends who might need help to register.”
In addition to activating the service, DHS also provides heat event alerts to support non-government organisations with clients who may be heat-vulnerable.
“The alerts provide an early warning of possible extreme heat events to help organisations prepare to support clients, linking them to heat health resources and information,” said Minister Lensink.
Vulnerable people or a representative can register for the Telecross REDi service by phoning 1800 188 071 or (08) 8100 4510, or by emailing email@example.com.
Agencies and organisations can subscribe to the Extreme Heat Watch Alerts service on the DHS website.