Seamless Integration

  Comment Banner Dec 2009
 

Heatwave plan put into action

As November's heatwave rewrote the record books at the Bureau of Meteorology in Kent Town, the new whole-of-government response to extreme heat was put into action.

Following last summer's record-breaking heatwave in January-February, the SA Government, with the SES as the lead agency, developed a cross-government Extreme Heat Event Plan.

This plan aims to increase agency preparedness for extreme heat events and ensure that relevant, timely and accurate information, advice and warnings are disseminated to South Australians to help increase community resilience.

The agencies involved in the development and implementation of the plan include:

  • CFS / MFS / SES / SAFECOM
  • PIRSA
  • SAAS
  • DFC
  • DTEI
  • Health
  • SAPOL
  • Bureau of Meteorology

November's continuously high temperatures allowed the new framework to be tested and refined, providing the opportunity for each agency to check their readiness and implement their plans.

Joint press conferences involving the SES, SA Ambulance Service and the Department of Health were organised and a series of media releases issued, kicking off with the Emergency Services Minister Michael Wright announcing the release of SES' new Heatwave Information Guide.

Health advice and warnings were issued by both the Department of Health and SES which were complemented by press advertisements and a 'Survive the Heatwave' animation on the new government website www.sa.gov.au that linked to the relevant SES webpage.

During the heatwave SAAS reported only a marginal increase in callouts which suggested that the coordinated approach was working and people were heeding the government's advice.

SES Chief Officer Stuart Macleod said: "I think we have saved lives in this last heatwave and, touch wood, that will continue to be the case. While you never get ahead of yourself we know lives are on the line. This is going to be a long, hot summer - we want to keep everyone alive."

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