Teaming up to prepare for climate change

Pat Deeny.
Pat Deeny.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has teamed up with nursing students from Ulster University to increase awareness of the role healthcare professionals have in helping communities prepare for the impact of storms, heatwaves and flooding due to climate change.

Council, which is leading on a cutting-edge local climate adaptation plan, informed the final year nursing students of climate projections over the next few years and how they can help local people in these emergency situations.

Climate Programme Manager, Cathy Burns said: “Climate change is happening at a much faster rate than was anticipated with the latest projections showing global warming at +1.5 degrees celsius above pre- industrial levels from the next five years onwards. The repercussions of this locally will mean hotter, wetter weather, a greater risk of flooding, storms and heatwaves. In such situations, healthcare providers play a vital role in terms of emergency response and treating people injured by such incidents.”

She added that the Council’s dedicated taskforce was aimed at making local people more resilient to climate change, and includes improving our green infrastructure and emergency planning with communities.

Pat Deeny, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Magee and Exercise Co-Ordinator, said Ulster University conducts a major community resilience and disaster response simulation exercise every year. “All our scenarios are closely linked to Community Resilience Plans developed by Council Emergency Planning and cover topics such as flooding, public health emergencies, mass casualty events, fire and community evacuation, nursing home evacuation and community response to suicide. This year we are teaming up with Council to examine emergences caused by climate change such as heat exhaustion, Lyme’s disease and flooding.”