OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to describe preparations for extreme hot weather at Victorian public sector residential aged care services for the 2010-11 summer, and to examine the role of the Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource in this process. METHOD: Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews of senior staff of Victorian public sector residential aged care services. Interviews were conducted at monthly intervals from November 2010 to March 2011, and data were analysed thematically. RESULTS: All interviewees described pre-summer preparations for hot weather undertaken at the health services they represented. Staff awareness and experience, and having a heatwave plan, were reported to have facilitated heat preparedness, whereas challenges to preparations mainly concerned air conditioning. The Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource was used to inform heatwave plans, for staff and family education, and as an audit tool. CONCLUSIONS: An extensive and well-considered approach to minimisation of harm from extreme heat by a sample of residential aged care services is described, and the Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource is reported to have supported the heatwave preparedness process.