Hospitals feel the heat too from extreme weather and its health impacts

As southeastern Australia swelters through another heatwave, how well equipped are our hospitals to cope with severe weather events?

Hospitals lie at the heart of our ability to manage the significant potential health impacts of extreme weather events. Many people would be surprised to hear that the vast majority of our hospitals have not been designed with these risks in mind. And they have not been adapted to ensure they can maintain healthcare services during such events.

The recent thunderstorm asthma outbreak in Melbourne, which was linked to eight deaths and put 8,500 people in hospital, is a vivid example of the health impacts of extreme weather. Such events can be life-threatening, especially for the aged, obese and critically ill.

Individually, health services workers do a remarkable job in coping with such events. However, the buildings they work in and the infrastructure that supports them often constrain their ability to respond.

Stories of power outages and of sick people waiting hours for beds and patients dying because hospitals were overstretched do not inspire confidence in the health system as Australia faces the prospect of more frequent extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods and storms.

A map of temperatures like this one for Wednesday, January 11, spells trouble for health services across Australia. Bureau of Meteorology

During the 2014 heatwave in South Australia, when Adelaide became the hottest place on the planet, heart attack rates increased by more than 300%. Other emerging extreme weather health risks include asthma from bush fires, increasing waterborne and vector diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and typhoid, dehydration and heat exhaustion, and physical injury from flying debris and floods.

There are many reports of hospital buildings and infrastructure failing during extreme weather events in Australia. For example, power outages have affected numerous hospitals and back-up systems reportedly failed during the 2004 heatwaves that swept Australia.

During the 2005 Sydney heatwaves, hospitals were swamped. Many people were simply seeking respite in air-conditioned reception areas.

In 2006, Cyclone Larry closed much of Innisfail Hospital. Staff required medical support from Townsville and Cairns hospitals. Herberton Hospital was without power until a generator was provided. Leaking roofs resulted in emergency evacuations.

In 2009, one-in-100-year storms left more than 3,000 NSW residents stranded by floods, many of them old and seriously at risk. Floodwaters isolated Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo and Bellingen hospitals. People needing urgent medical treatment had to be sent up to 80 kilometres away.

Most recently, after super-cell thunderstorms blacked out South Australia, back-up generators failed at an Adelaide hospital. Seventeen patients had to be transferred from Flinders Medical Centre to Flinders Private Hospital.

Originally published by The Conversation, continue reading Here.

Join us at the 2017 Disaster and Emergency Management Conference

Back for it’s 6th consecutive year, the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference (ANZDMC) will return to Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast from 22 – 23 May. 

We invite you to exchange ideas and innovations at this conference as this will result in improved practices within our industry and ultimately on the ground. As a speaker you will also have the opportunity to have your full paper peer reviewed and included in the Book of Proceedings with an ISBN number.

Your abstract may address one of the following topics:

  • Technology and Operations
  • Multi-Agency Response
  • Understanding and Enhancing Resilience
  • Emerging Technology and Capability Needs
  • The Recovery Process
  • Crisis Leadership
  • Volunteers in Emergencies
  • Psycho-Social Implications of Disaster Management
  • International Response to Disasters
  • Consequence Management
  • Open Topic

Apply to present and register your spot for 2017 now at www.anzdmc.com.au

Discounts are available to groups and those attending both the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference and the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference, which will run consecutively at the same venue.

Who Should Attend the Conference?

  • State Emergency Services
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Fire and Emergency Services
  • SES/Volunteer Organisations
  • Red Cross
  • Defence Force
  • University/ Educational Institutes/ Researchers/ Academics
  • Policymakers/ Government/ Local Government/ Councils
  • Emergency Services Managers
  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Health Services
  • Asset Managers/ Business Consultants
  • Planners/ Risk Assessors
  • Facility Managers (Aged Care, Hospitals)
  • Insurers/ Financial Institutions
  • Infrastructure/ Equipment Providers

We’re looking forward to another successful event in 2017 and we hope to see you there. If you would like further information on the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference please visit www.anzdmc.com.au.

dmc-17

Plan for cyclones to avoid late rush on important items

It isn’t hard to plan for a cyclone, but leaving everything to the last minute will create unnecessary headaches for you and your family.

Shops run out of batteries, the queues at petrol stations go round the block and there’s a risk some family members won’t be clear on what to do when a cyclone arrives. Thinking ahead not only makes life easier, it may actually save your life.

Here are a few tips to help you create a household cyclone plan before it’s too late:

• Find out whether your property could be affected by a storm tide or surge (see www.securent.nt.gov.au for the latest storm surge area map).

• Have your emergency cyclone kit ready. Remember it needs to sustain every person in your household for at least 72 hours.

• Plan where your family will shelter; either by leaving Darwin, sheltering in your coded home or with friends in their coded home. Public shelters and some underground car parks are also options. Pets are only allowed to shelter with their families in the designated underground car parks and not in public shelters, so remember to plan for their safety too

• If you plan to go to a public shelter, prepare your house and decide on the route you will take.

• If you plan to leave town, leave early, be prepared to stay away for several days or longer and ensure you have sufficient food and water to sustain your family.

• If there is a chance your family may be separated include details of how to contact each other or agree on a meeting place in your emergency plan. It’s recommended you arrange an out-of-town friend or relative to be a single point of contact.

• Make a list of what you will need to take along if you’re evacuated and keep it with your emergency plan.

• Don’t leave your decisions to the last moment.

• If you have your own transport, remember to fill it with fuel as early as possible.

Other things to keep in mind are:

Stuart Park resident Ashlee Matthews is ready for the cyclone season. PICTURE:Patrina Malone

Stuart Park resident Ashlee Matthews is ready for the cyclone season. PICTURE:Patrina Malone

• Speak to your neighbours and tell each other your plans.

• If you or anyone else in your house requires medication, ensure you or they are well stocked.

• Homeowners, especially those along the foreshore, should install proper storm shutters on doors and windows.

• Keep enough cash on you for necessities, including change for pay phones.

• Beware of the calm eye of the storm and don’t go outside until advised it is safe to do so.

• Check you have adequate household and/or contents insurance that cover natural disasters.

• Know how to turn off your power, gas and water supplies at the mains.

Originally published by the NT Times, read the original article here.

Be prepared the best motto for cyclone season

Don’t be one of the hundreds of people vying for the last torch at the hardware store when a cyclone heads to Darwin.

Save yourself from stress and the possibility of missing out by preparing your cyclone kit before a cyclone is bearing down on the Territory.

Keep in mind that power may go out, conditions may be wet and shops are likely to be shut.

And remember that small comforts like a hot cup of coffee can help calm the nerves during a cyclone — but damage from the storm could affect the quality of tap water and it could be days before power and normality are restored.

The Carey family — Brian, Nicole and Isabella, 5, — gather essentials for their cyclone survival kit. PICTURE: Fiona Harding

The Carey family — Brian, Nicole and Isabella, 5, — gather essentials for their cyclone survival kit. PICTURE: Fiona Harding

Essential non-food items

•A torch, preferably waterproof with plenty of batteries, candles and waterproof matches

•A portable radio and plenty of batteries

•Blankets or sleeping bags

•Strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables etc)

•10 litres + of water per person

•A First Aid kit, First Aid manual and combination pocket knife

•Masking tape

•Portable stove, cooking gear, utensils

•Fuel for your car

•Special needs for infants, the elderly and disabled

•Medications, toiletries and sanitary supplies

•Spare change of strong protective clothes for each household member

•Copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports, licences, etc)

•Books, playing cards or games

•Money, including change for phone calls

•A copy of your household plan

•Pet supplies

•Mobile phone, spare battery and charger

•Extra car and house keys

Five-day cyclone pantry

The following will feed two people for five days. This list is a suggestion only and you may vary it according to your family’s preference and budget.

Remember all non-tinned food should be stored in airtight and waterproof containers.

Authorities do not allow cooking equipment to be taken into public shelters.

•1 box of breakfast cereal

•2 packets of crispbread

•1 packet of rice

•10 packets of instant pasta/noodles

•5 tins of fruit

•1 packet of dried fruit/nuts

•12 x 250ml boxed fruit juices

•4 cans of vegetables

•1 large packet of dried potato powder

•10 cans of meat and vegetables

•2 cans of fish

•5 cans of baked beans/three-bean mix

•1kg milk powder or 8 x 1 litre long-life milk

•1 box of tea bags

•1 jar coffee

•1 can Milo

•4 boxes/cans of instant soup

•1 jar peanut butter/jam/honey/Vegemite

Originally published by the NT Times, read the original article here.

Sponsorship Opportunities for 2017

The 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held from 22 to 23 May at Jupiters Hotel on the Gold Coast, Queensland.sponsorship-opportunities

2017 Conference Topics Include:

  • Technology and Operations
  • Multi-Agency Response
  • Understanding and Enhancing Resilience
  • Emerging Technology and Capability Needs
  • The Recovery Process
  • Crisis Leadership
  • Volunteers in Emergencies
  • Psycho-Social Implications of Disaster Management
  • International Response to Disasters
  • Consequence Management

Conference Sponsorship will connect your organisation with leading professionals and practitioners within the sector. Some of the benefits of sponsorship include:

  • Maintaining a high profile before, during and following the event.
  • Demonstrating your organisations commitment within the sector.
  • Consolidating corporate relationships and expose your staff to your key markets.
  • Enabling your organisations representatives to mix informally with industry professionals, leaders, local governance personnel, planners and speakers.
  • Sponsors and exhibitors have the opportunity to publish articles on our blog during the year.
  • Website advertising.
  • All Sponsors and Exhibitors are acknowledged and linked from the conference website for one year.

The Conference will allow your organisation to benefit significantly from constant exposure to an interested, relevant and influential audience in a relaxed environment, away from the distractions of their daily roles. With over 500 delegates expected, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your product or service to the leaders in the field.

A vast range of sponsorship opportunities to enhance exposure of your business are now available. For more information on sponsorship or tailoring a package to meet your needs please visit the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference website.

 

 

 

 

Present at the 2017 Disaster and Emergency Management Conference

Back for it’s 6th consecutive year, the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference (ANZDMC) will return to Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast from 22 – 23 May. This is a must attend event on the emergency services calendar and applications to present are now open.

We invite you to exchange ideas and innovations at this conference as this will result in improved practices within our industry and ultimately on the ground. As a speaker you will also have the opportunity to have your full paper peer reviewed and included in the Book of Proceedings with an ISBN number.

Your abstract may address one of the following topics:

  • Technology and Operations
  • Multi-Agency Response
  • Understanding and Enhancing Resilience
  • Emerging Technology and Capability Needs
  • The Recovery Process
  • Crisis Leadership
  • Volunteers in Emergencies
  • Psycho-Social Implications of Disaster Management
  • International Response to Disasters
  • Consequence Management
  • Open Topic

Apply to present and register your spot for 2017 now at www.anzdmc.com.au

Discounts are available to groups and those attending both the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference and the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference, which will run consecutively at the same venue.

Who Should Attend the Conference?

  • State Emergency Services
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Fire and Emergency Services
  • SES/Volunteer Organisations
  • Red Cross
  • Defence Force
  • University/ Educational Institutes/ Researchers/ Academics
  • Policymakers/ Government/ Local Government/ Councils
  • Emergency Services Managers
  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Health Services
  • Asset Managers/ Business Consultants
  • Planners/ Risk Assessors
  • Facility Managers (Aged Care, Hospitals)
  • Insurers/ Financial Institutions
  • Infrastructure/ Equipment Providers

We’re looking forward to another successful event in 2017 and we hope to see you there. If you would like further information on the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference please visit www.anzdmc.com.au.

dmc-17

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Secretariat:
PO Box 29 Nerang
Qld 4211 Australia

Email: admin@anzdmc.com.au
Phone: 07 5502 2068