Key learnings from Victoria's asthma storms

Only one-third of people who died had action plans

People with asthma may have been safest staying indoors with windows closed and medication on hand when a fatal thunderstorm respiratory event struck Victoria, an inquest has been told.

A specialist on Monday gave evidence to an investigation into the deaths of 10 people, during or shortly after the freak weather event hit Melbourne on 21 November, 2016. 

The event — caused by a combination of high pollen, strong winds, high temperatures and air moisture before a cold front — sparked an unprecedented surge of emergency calls across Victoria. 

About 14,000 people were taken to hospital, and seven men and three women, aged 18 to 57, died.

Professor Jo Douglass, from Royal Melbourne Hospital, said there was a trend of the victims having spent time outdoors before their deaths, which occurred on a hot, 38C day with lots of pollen in the air, ahead of a storm.

Law student Hope Marsh