|Title||Heatwaves in New South Wales: how are residents and businesses coping?|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Tofa, M, Gissing, A|
|Publisher||Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC|
Heatwaves are recognized as Australia’s most deadly natural peril. During the summer 2016/2017, extreme heatwave conditions were experienced across New South Wales (NSW). Forecasts for heatwave conditions are provided by the BoM, and disseminated through traditional and online media, and by other agencies to communities. However, the full impacts of heatwave conditions and the ways in which these warnings are used by the public are not well understood. In this study, phone surveys of residents and business owners/operators were conducted following heatwaves in January and February 2017. These surveys explored how residents and businesses receive and monitor heatwave warnings, preparedness and protective measures taken, risk perceptions, and the impacts of the heatwave on the health and wellbeing of residents and staff, and on business activity. Initial findings show that communities recognise that temperatures are much hotter than previous years. Households are mainly coping with extreme heat by rescheduling outdoor activities, staying at home and running air conditioners and fans. In the main household members have experienced personal discomfort and poor sleep, however, a number of people have reported feeling unwell. Energy use and costs associated with preparedness and protective measures are key areas of concern to communities.