Wednesday, 27 October 2021 15:52

WSROC presents to Australian Disaster Resilience Conference

Emergency signage Emergency signage

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council’s Heat Smart Western Sydney program was presented to the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference in October.

WSROC President, Clr Barry Calvert, said “Extreme heat is a major challenge for Western Sydney – one that impacts every person in our city each and every summer.

“We know heat it is responsible for a huge number of deaths every year. We know heat disrupts essential infrastructure such as power, transport and telecommunications. We know it has impacts for economic productivity and the environment – and we also know that heatwaves are going to get worse.

“Despite this we don’t take heatwaves as seriously as other disasters,” he said.

Over the last two years WSROC has been consulting with local government, state agencies, industry, and the community sector to ensure that the arrangements in pace for extreme heat events are on par with those for bushfire, floods and storms.

“Heatwaves are not as visually impactful as a bushfire or flood, but they take a far greater toll on community health and safety – with deaths often occurring silently, at home,” said Clr Calvert.

“It is critical we have the governance and processes in place support community safety.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Establishing a responsible agency for heat risk management
  • Measuring heat-related impacts – to allow the development of informed policy.
  • Prioritising risk reduction – via cooler urban design, better housing design, heat-resilient infrastructure, and subsidised cooling for those at-risk.
  • Promoting preparedness – community education on heat risk, preparing the home, and making safe choices.
  • Practical response during extreme events – free cool spaces, community transport, and check-ins for vulnerable individuals.

You can read more about the Heat Smart project in the below article published in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (October 2021).