About heatwave

Heatwaves have become a serious public health issue, causing more deaths in Australia in the past 200 years, than any other natural hazard. Extreme heat events are becoming an increasingly common occurrence throughout Western Australia. Associated with these events is the projected increase in the number of heat related deaths and consequential impacts on community, infrastructure and services.

The Department’s State Hazard Plan (external site) outlines the State’s strategies for the control of the emergency response in the management of a heatwave emergency. The Department of Health has overall responsibility for emergency management of heatwave while prevention, preparedness and recovery are the responsibilities of individual agencies.

What areas of WA are most affected by heatwave?

The impacts of heatwave on health service usage among residents are geographically different. These are demonstrated in the maps below that show which local government areas in each health region are most affected by heatwave.

What do the heatwave impact maps mean?

  • The impact of heatwave is classified into 5 levels, from the highest to the least impact.
  • The health impacts are measured by comparing the rate of emergency department presentations and hospital admissions due to specific medical conditions during heatwave and non-heatwave days.
  • Areas highlighted in red saw the largest increases in heatwave impacts, compared with the areas highlighted in blue which saw the least impact.

Heatwave impact maps

Who is most vulnerable from heat stress?

People in the community who are most at risk include those:

  • 65 years and older
  • taking multiple medications e.g. diuretics, antihistamines
  • chronically unwell with conditions such as diabetes, heart, Parkinson's, respiratory disease
  • unable to adapt their behaviour to keep cool due to dementia, disability, substance abuse, being overweight or obese, being pregnant or breastfeeding
  • impacted by environmental factors e.g. homeless, outdoor workers, sports people, Aboriginal people living in remote areas.
Produced by

Disaster Preparedness and Management Unit