Coalmine fire - initial impact of health and wellbeing

The Hazelwood coalmine fire in February and March 2014 affected nearby Morwell and surrounding communities for 6 weeks with smoke, ash and raised carbon monoxide levels. Health professionals anecdotally reported that residents presented to them not only with respiratory effects but also more general health and well being concerns related to the fire.

FedUni is investigating the initial impact on health and well being from the coalmine fire to susceptible sub-groups, such as pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing lung and heart disease.

This project will create a narrative evidence base of the initial perceived impact of the Hazelwood coalmine fire on health and well being (concerns and responses) in Morwell and surrounding communities.

The study will bring together researchers from across Monash University, Federation University Australia, the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the University of Adelaide. The project will involve the development of an Advisory Committee with representation from local community members as well as close connections with local health professionals to ensure the study outcomes are communicated locally and taken up into policy and practice.

This project will precede and complement a separate 10-year study to be funded by the Victorian Department of Health to identify any long-term health impacts from the fire.