For Individuals - Bushfire Health and Safety

Bushfire Safety

  • Make a Bush Fire Survival Plan for you and your family
  • Avoid areas where bushfires are occurring. Stay off the road - don’t travel unless absolutely necessary.
  • Report unattended fires or suspicious activity immediately to Triple Zero (000) and follow the advice of authorities.
  • Read all warnings in full to stay up-to-date with the latest information - including evacuation routes and evacuation centres.
  • Adhere to area closures because of bushfire emergencies. Areas closed will reopen when they are safe.
  • Be alert that bushfires can topple trees and power lines and leave debris strewn across the landscape, posing a significant health and safety risk.
  • Leave early. Leaving your home before the bushfire reaches your property is always the safest option for you and your family.
  • When returning home after a bushfire, be mindful of hazards including fallen power lines or unstable power poles, dangerous trees or contaminated water. 

Protect Your Health

  • Avoid vigorous exercise outside during smoky conditions, especially if you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a breathing-related condition.
  • If you have an air conditioner, use in a recirculate mode.
  • Seek medical advice if you are experiencing any adverse reactions to dust or smoke, such as shortness of breath, prolonged coughing or wheezing.
  • Throw out all food that has been fire-damaged or affected by heat.
  • Tank water can be contaminated from debris, fire retardant, ash or dead animals. If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink or give it to animals.

Advice for Contaminated Water

If you think your rainwater tank has been contaminated, you can still use the water to: 

  • flush toilets
  • wash clothes (if the water is not discoloured - so that it does not stain the clothes)
  • fight fires

It is important for residents in fire affected areas or in areas where ash may have fallen on roofs to ensure all rainwater from the first full rainfall event is not collected. This water may be contaminated by ash and will be unsafe to drink.

Additional Resources 

Visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website for more information.