1. How is our system an individualised early warning system?

Our system is an individualised early warning system because it considers the specific needs and vulnerabilities of older persons. It measures ambient temperature and relative humidity to determine the potential risk for each person based on their unique health conditions and environmental circumstances, and then sends personalised alerts when temperatures become unsafe for them.

2. Why is this individualised early warning system important?

Heatwaves are projected to increase in frequency, duration, and intensity across Australia. In this scenario, this individualised early warning system is important because it can help prevent heat-related illnesses and complications among older individuals, who are more susceptible to heat stress. By providing customized alerts, the system can help them take the necessary precautions to stay safe and comfortable during extreme weather conditions.

3. Would it be useful to have this system if we now already have a BOM heatwave warning system in place?

Yes, it would still be useful to have this system in place, as the BOM heatwave warning system provides general warnings for a broader population. Our individualized early warning system offers more personalised and targeted alerts, specifically catering to the needs of older people and taking into account their unique health conditions and environmental circumstances.

4. Who will be the target group?

The target group for this early warning heat system is primarily older individuals who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and complications. However, it can also be beneficial for other vulnerable populations, such as people with chronic health conditions, disabilities, or those with limited access to cooling resources.

5. Will you include people with chronic health conditions in your study?

Initially the scope of our study will be limited to healthy older individuals (where health conditions do not impact heat sensitivity) as there is more existing evidence related to safe temperature thresholds in healthy populations. However, it is planned to eventually expand the scope to also include those with chronic health conditions, as some conditions can increase the risk of heat-related illness and are important to address too.

6. Why would healthy individuals use it?

Healthy individuals may also find this system useful in certain situations, such as during extreme heat events. Aging in general diminishes the body’s ability to regulate heat, even if an individual is otherwise healthy. The system can help an individual become more aware of potential risks and take appropriate precautions to maintain their health and well-being during extreme weather conditions.

7. Why would a person with an air-conditioner use this system?

A person with an air-conditioner may still find this system helpful because it provides additional information about the ambient temperature and humidity outside their home. This can help them make informed decisions about when to use their air-conditioner, how to set it efficiently, and when to take other precautionary measures to stay safe and comfortable during heatwaves. Additionally, the system can serve as a backup in case of power outages or air-conditioner malfunctions, ensuring that they remain aware of potential risks and can take appropriate action.

8. I want to be involved in the in-home trials. How do I set up the system?

Our team will personally assist you in setting up the system at your residence, eliminating any concerns about doing it on your own. As part of this process, we will guide you through the system’s functionalities and provide a user manual for your convenience. Should you encounter any technical difficulties during the trial period, please feel free to reach out to us via call or email. If you would like to participate, we invite you to register here.

9. What information will you need from me and how will this information be stored during the trials?

Each participant will need to fill out a health questionnaire before beginning the trial, however the main information we will need includes the physical characteristics mentioned earlier (age, gender, weight, height, and medical condition). Age will be just year of age, and if you do have a medical condition, we will ask how long you’ve been diagnosed, if its progressing and if you’re taking medication for it. The reason why we need to know a bit more about medical conditions is because they can impact your heat sensitivity. This information will be used for our algorithm to ensure you get tailored responses depending on what we predict your core body temperature may be on a given day. In terms of data safety, nothing will be sent outside of the University. All sensitive information collected from the health questionnaire at the beginning of the trial will be deidentified and stored in Griffith’s highly secure Research Vault. As for physical characteristics used for our system algorithm, that will only be stored on the device in the home. It won’t be sent off to the internet or anything like that. So, as long as the home is secure, the data stored in the device will be secure too. All we will be using that data for is our algorithm, to ensure participants get tailored responses depending on what we predict their core temperature may be on a given day.