Jax Wechsler

Reducing heat wave health risks

Situation:  In Far North QLD heat waves are becoming more frequent and lasting longer. Heatwaves can lead to morbidity and there are significant rises in hospital presentations during heat waves. Many citizens are not aware of the risks or precautions that they should be taking.

Task :  Develop personas to distribute to councils in Far North QLD to help them run programs and communication campaigns to help reduce health impacts of heat waves on citizens.

Action :  Literature review looking at heat waves, how they are best handled, what other countries are doing etc. Interviews with various groups, people working in remote Aboriginal  communities, academics researching health impacts of Heat Waves in the region, citizens, councils etc. Formulation of personas. Delivery of personas. Delivery of a strategy document, outlining insights and recommendations for next steps. The report brought a systemic les to the issue.

Result : The personas were well received. These will be used by Local Councils to inform communications and program design. Our report showed that a systemic approach is required, including partnering with different groups (Social housing, business, schools, care providers, media, state government, etc.). There is talk about further work taking a systemic design approach to identify and design other levers for change.


Heat wave impacts are interlinked and can compound quickly. A collaborative & systemic and approach is required.
Interventions should focus on the individual, the community and governance, whilst keeping individual needs at the centre.
A multi-pronged approach is required whilst still keeping the individual’s needs at the centre. The personas will assist this process.

Below is an infographic created for the project to support the need for a systemic approach.

Infographic - Individual in the centre. Different areas that influence heat wave outcomes include housing, infrastructure, business & economy, health, environment, community. In the outer ring, there is community resilience and governance as these factors influence the different dimensions and the experience of the individual.


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