Government has released the preliminary report from the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) into the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event of 21 and 22 November 2016.
Read a summary of the Victorian Government media release below.
1 February 2017
Government will fund new research to better understand and predict the phenomenon of thunderstorm asthma, as well as a new and expanded pollen monitoring network as part of a $1 million package.
The government released the preliminary report from the Inspector-General for Emergency Management into the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event of 21 and 22 November 2016 today.
The report found that never before had Victoria experienced a rapid-onset event of this scale, and never before had our ambulance services and hospitals experienced such demand in such a condensed time period and across such a large geographical area.
It notes that thunderstorm asthma is not well understood, nor are the factors that enable thunderstorm asthma events to be predicted.
To ensure we are armed with the best information and the best science to better understand, predict and respond to events like this in the future, we are investing $700,000 to support research into the underlying causes of thunderstorm asthma and the best processes for forecasting these events.
We will also spend $300,000 to expand the state’s current pollen monitoring network. Agencies will be invited to tender for five more monitoring sites from October, and this data will be used as part of the new research.
The expanded pollen monitoring service in Victoria will:
- Help understand the phenomenon of thunderstorm asthma and better forecast the risk
- Help more Victorians better manage their hay fever and asthma
- Provide the Victorian community with information to assist susceptible groups
- Educate Victorians about the trigger for asthma and hay fever, encouraging use of their prescribed medications and asthma action plans
The pollen season is over in Victoria for this season and we do not expect to see thunderstorm activity triggering asthma or similar respiratory problems.
There will also be a major overhaul of the way the Department of Health and Human Services manages and escalates emergency situations into the future, and the State Health Emergency Response Plan (SHERP) is being revised and rewritten.
The Inspector-General for Emergency Management will provide a final report to the government by late April.