- Hazardous materials after a bushfire
- Use protective clothing to check your property after a bushfire
- Heat-affected food after a bushfire
- Debris in water tanks after a bushfire
- Taking care of yourself after a bushfire
- Cleaning up your home after a bushfire
- Washing affected clothing after a bushfire
- Where to get help
Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards. These may include fallen or sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls.
When returning to your property, make sure you are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your health and safety.
- ashes, especially from burnt treated timbers (such as copper chrome arsenate or ‘CCA’)
- LPG gas cylinders
- garden chemicals
- farm chemicals
- other general chemicals (for example, cleaning products)
- metal and other residues from burnt household appliances
If you have a septic tank, remember it may have been weakened in the fire so do not drive or walk over it.
It is unsafe to spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or if CCA-treated timber was burnt. It is also unsafe to disturb the dust when walking around your property.
- Wear sturdy footwear and heavy-duty work gloves.
- Wear disposable overalls, with long sleeves and trousers.
- Wear a P2 face mask (P2 face masks are sometimes referred to as N95 masks).
- When leaving the property, dispose of gloves, coveralls and face masks into a garbage bag. Wash your hands after removing contaminated clothing and articles. Shoes should be cleaned before being worn again.
All foods that have been fire damaged or affected by heat should be discarded. This includes all perishable and non-perishable foods (such as cans or packaged foods). Power outages can also leave perishable foods that may have been refrigerated unsafe to eat.
Bushfires produce large amounts of smoke and ash, and your tank water could have become contaminated from debris and ash, or dead animals. If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink it or give it to animals.
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