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. 

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.

National heat index map

The Australian Climate Service provides information about heat and health (external site), including information about the Heat-Health Risk Index and an associated national heat index map.The tool aims to help local communities and decision makers better prepare and respond to extreme heat.

Produced by

Disaster Preparedness and Management Directorate