Researchers call for rural heatwave preparation plans

Rural Queensland should develop heatwave response plan, researchers say

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A study looked at emergency departments in times of extreme heat.

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A new study has called for rural health authorities and other agenices to work together in order to combat the health effects of heatwave in regional Queensland. 

Researchers have been looking at the relationship between Queensland heatwaves and the number of people visiting state emergency departments. 

The study, which collected data from eight sites including Longreach and Mt Isa, concluded that emergency department visits across Queensland increased during periods of heatwave.

It also found that a range of diseases such as diabetes were sensitive to heatwave impacts. 

The study made a number of recommendations with regards to rural Queensland, particularly those working outside in scorching heat. 

"[Rural residents] may be more exposed to outdoor extreme heat during a heatwave period than their urban counterparts," the study found. 

"Additionally, lack of access to appropriate health services in rural areas is another important factor.

"The impacts of heatwave on rural residents have attracted little attention to date," the study's authors added. 

The authors recommended that plans be developed to reduce the impacts of extreme heat in rural areas. 

"Rural health authorities should also work closely with local meteorological and other relevant agencies to develop heatwave response plans to cope with the increasing effects of heatwaves among rural residents."

The study was published in January’s edition of the journal Environmental Research​. 

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