Victoria takes action against thunderstorm asthma


The Victorian Government is developing a real time monitoring system to ensure a faster response to large scale emergencies such as the thunderstorm asthma event in 2016.

This comes after health minister Jill Hennessy released the final report from the Inspector-General for Emergency Management into the thunderstorm asthma event in November 21-22 2016, which lead to the death of nine people, according to the ABC.

The report found that Victoria had no way of predicting the event, and that there was no evidence suggesting the thunderstorm would create consequences of that scale.

It also confirmed that emergency services had never before experienced such a high demand across a large geographical area,within a short period of time, with Ambulance Victoria receiving the largest number of calls for assistance in the state’s history.

The system will be supported by funding for a range of other services including:

  • emergency management training for hospitals and health workers
  • more research to improve the understanding and treatment of thunderstorm asthma
  • education and engagement campaigns to help communities prepare for, and respond to, epidemic thunderstorm asthma
  • increased monitoring and interpretation of pollen data
  • research to inform forecasting, modelling and response protocols
  • improved real-time monitoring of data sources, including emergency department demand.

“We’re putting in place the right systems and training, so that if thunderstorm asthma or another extreme weather event happens, we’re as ready as we possibly can be,” Hennessy said.

“I want to assure the families affected by this event that we have made every effort to learn from this tragedy and to do whatever we can to better respond in the future.”