Proprietors must ensure they have an effective emergency management plan in place at their SRS, and that staff are able to respond to first aid emergencies when they arise. The department has developed an emergency management plan specifically for SRS, which can be customised to each individual SRS. The plan provides information about all hazards that could impact on SRS, including power outages, floods and heatwaves.
A heatwave is a period of unusual and uncomfortable hot weather that can potentially negatively affect residents' health. Some residents may be more vulnerable than others to the effects of extreme heat, including residents aged over 65 years and/or those with:
- medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- mental illness
- alcohol or other drug issues
- cognitive impairment
- low mobility.
To reduce the risk of heat-related impacts and illness, ensure residents have access to a cool place in the SRS and provide appropriate care and services for residents' needs.
Proprietors can subscribe to the department's heat health alerts to be informed of forecasted heatwave conditions which are likely to impact on human health.
Fires and floods, natural disasters such as an earthquake, and wild weather can cause power outages. SRS proprietors and staff should be aware that some telephones, security systems and resident call buttons may not operate without power.
It is also important to consider the safety of the SRS' food supply and the potential inability to cook in the event of a power outage. Good food safety practices must be continually followed to avoid food poisoning.
The department's SRS emergency management plan outlines some of the procedures that should be followed at the event of a severe storm or flood impacting on an SRS. If the SRS is in a flood-prone area, relocation of residents and staff may be required. When, and if, return to the premises is possible, precautions must be taken to reduce the potential of illness, disease and injury occurring amongst residents and staff.
The aftermath of a flood may also encourage the growth of mould within an SRS premises. Undisturbed mould is not a major health hazard for some people, however it can impact seriously on those with weakened immune systems, allergies, severe asthma or lung disease.