Tuesday, 21 May 2019 Sydney
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Environment Grants Help Territorians Breathe Easier with AirRater::

Top End residents with lung conditions such as asthma are set to breathe a little easier following today’s launch of the Northern Territory’s AirRater smart phone app.

The Northern Territory Government, through Environment Grant funding, has supported the University of Tasmania to develop and release the AirRater app in the Northern Territory.

The AirRater app alerts vulnerable residents when they are at risk from air-borne pollutants such as smoke from wildfires.

The app can also:

 

·         Check the air quality and temperature at any location

·         See the location of bushfires and planned burns

·         Set up “saved” locations so users can quickly view what is happening in areas frequently visited

 

Users can also keep a record on the one mobile device of:

 

·         Their symptoms such as runny/itchy nose, watery eyes, shortness of breath or sore throat

·         Associated triggers such as smoke, dust, exercise or temperatures

·         The type of medication used (if any) such as an asthma reliever or antihistamine

 

The AirRater app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) director of environmental operations, Peter Vasel, thanked the University of Tasmania for developing the AirRater app, made possible through a $22,790 Northern Territory Government grant.

“The quality of the air we breathe can have a huge impact on our health, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions,” Mr Vasel said

“I urge anyone with asthma or other lung conditions to download the app so they can all breathe a little easier.”

The AirRater service was developed by a team from the University of Tasmania, led by Associate Professor Fay Johnston, and is currently used in Tasmania, Victoria and the ACT.

AirRater app project manager, Dr Penelope Jones, was in Darwin today for the app’s launch and said the NT version would also notify users about forecast extreme heat conditions so they can make more informed decisions before undertaking strenuous, outdoor activity.

“This app will help Territorians take action to protect their health,” Dr Jones said.

“The app can provide people with individualised reports, showing how environmental conditions impact their symptoms and will also alert people when those conditions exist, so they know when they need to take action.”

Asthma Foundation NT lead educator Leanne Elliott-Holmes said asthma affects almost 10 per cent of Territorians and this app would help users better manage their symptoms.

“This app is also beneficial for parents who have children with asthma so they can better plan family outings and avoid areas that might trigger symptoms,” Ms Elliott-Holmes said.

Go to https://airrater.org/ for more information about AirRater.

 

Media Note – interviews can be arranged by contacting DENR media manager Edwin Edlund on 0437915366.