Draft Heatwave Plan released for public exhibition

COUNCIL has prepared a draft Heatwave Plan to identify how best to ensure community safety in the event of extended periods of hot weather.

Heatwaves are periods of unusually high temperatures that can result in significant harm to residents.

Director Sustainable Development Heather Green said a heatwave of unprecedented intensity and duration in January 2009 has prompted the need for a Heatwave Plan.

“High sustained temperatures have the potential to impact on the health of the community,” she said.

“Unlike most other emergency situations heatwaves are more likely to result in health implications rather than structural damage and their impact is accumulative rather than sudden.”

Following a 2003 heatwave in Europe that caused 80,000 deaths, the World Health Organisation recommended that heat health action plans be established.

Elements of these actions plans include:

• An accurate and timely alert system;
• Health-related information strategies;
• Strategies to reduce individual and community exposure to heat;
• Provision of health care, social services and infrastructure; and
• Real-time surveillance, evaluation and monitoring.

The draft Heatwave Plan is a sub-plan of the Alpine Shire Council Municipal Emergency Management Plan and details Council’s role during a heatwave, identifying the four stages of dealing with the emergency:

• Awareness;
• Alert;
• Response; and
• Recovery.

The plan has been placed on public exhibition for four weeks and is available online here or in hard copy at Council Offices, Great Alpine Road, Bright or Customer Service Centre at Myrtleford and Mount Beauty libraries.

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