Public And Profits At Risk From Heatwaves And Underprepared Businesses


With a hotter and drier than normal Summer predicted, and a recent damning report from the Auditor–General regarding inadequate preparation for catastrophic heat waves, it’s critical that businesses start emergency planning now. In particular hospitals, aged care facilities, childcare centres and all other environments that protect vulnerable members of the public should have a robust emergency heatwave plan. Businesses that also rely on air conditioning, power and process cooling should be aware of the crippling loses they can incur if this machinery breaks down.

Australia’s relentless and scorching heat causes air conditioners, chillers and power systems to work overtime just to meet demand. These systems are often out of site, out of mind and run at maximum capacity for days. The extra workload increases machinery strain often leading to breakdowns.

In hospitals and similar environments this is extremely dangerous. In businesses it is extremely costly.

For this reason, it’s important facility managers and business owners try to prevent or prepare for a breakdown.

Preventative Action To Take Now

There are some simple steps that organisations can take now;

  • make sure air conditioners, chillers and back up power generators are serviced and clean.
  • Ensure air conditioning thermostats are accurately set to reduce the risk of overworking.

Unfortunately, even these steps are often not enough to prevent a breakdown. Facility managers and business owners should come up with a plan to minimise human impact, stock loss or downtime, should their air conditioners, chillers or back up power generators fail.

Facility managers and business owners should consider the following regarding an air conditioning breakdown:

Entire Building Air Conditioning Checklist

For entire building air conditioning failures temporary chillers can be used. Key considerations are:

  • Capacity (kW)
  • Location (where the temporary chiller can be placed),
  • Connection points (hot tapping, valves or parallel system)
  • Power (mains or temporary power generator)
  • Integration with the existing controls and infrastructure.

Full Checklist Here

Specific Room Air Conditioning Checklist

For specific rooms such as data centres, childcare rooms or individual shops portable air conditioners can be used. Key considerations are:

  • Room size
  • Type of environment
  • Location
  • Available power

Full Checklist Here

Plant managers can also use temporary chillers for process cooling. As with air conditioning key considerations are capacity, location, connection points, and integration with existing controls and infrastructure.

Backup Generator Power Checklist

For anyone that requires power temporary generators can be used. Key considerations include

  • What’s being powered
  • Capacity (kVA)
  • Location

Full Checklist Here

Making sure these considerations are included in an emergency heatwave plan is absolutely critical to ensure quick back up equipment delivery and resulting safety and business continuity. 

Brad Sweeny is a Director at Active Air Rentals, a national specialist in temporary power, air conditioner and chiller hire. For a free, no obligation contingency consultation contact us, 1800 50 50 47 or email us

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