Mt Tarcoola Primary School’s recently installed UV meter is a first for the Mid West region

Staff reporterGeraldton Guardian
Mt Tarcoola Primary School's new UV meter.
Camera IconMt Tarcoola Primary School's new UV meter. Credit: Cancer Council of WA

Mt Tarcoola Primary School is proof that it’s cool to be sun-safe, becoming the first school in the Mid West to have its own meter monitoring ultraviolet rays from the sun.

The device, which shows the current UV reading on a large, easy-to-read display, was recently installed at the school, which the Cancer Council WA has now labelled the most SunSmart school in the Mid West.

Mt Tarcoola Primary School principal Paul Luxton said the school was excited to have the UV meter, which would continue to educate students about the importance of seeking shade and developing good SunSmart habits.

“We have been a SunSmart school for a considerable time, and we also have a No Hat Play in the Shade policy,” he said.

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“Every day our Year 6 councillors read the UV index forecast over the PA to the whole school but now with our new UV meter, we can communicate live data which is very exciting.

“The UV meter also provides a visual reminder about the current UV level. Having the visual prompt of the UV meter has taught the students that it’s not the heat that determines danger, but the UV, and hopefully that will create a lifelong awareness and a change in their attitudes.”

Cancer Council WA Mid West regional education officer Aiden McDowell said the UV meter on the school’s campus was a step in the right direction in terms of creating awareness about and reducing skin cancer in the community.

“Skin cancers, including melanoma, accounts for the largest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year,” he said.

Mr McDowell said the latest data revealed 54 people were diagnosed with melanoma in 2019 and three people died from it. On a Statewide level, almost 1600 people were diagnosed with melanoma in 2019, and 145 people succumbed to the disease.

“It has been shown that reducing lifetime UV radiation goes a long way to reducing the risk of skin cancer, so we congratulate Mt Tarcoola Primary School on their proactive approach towards reducing skin cancer in the community,” he said.

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